Councils able to replace just one-third of homes sold under right to buy

The government’s right-to-buy scheme risks running out of homes unless councils are given funding to build more, a report has warned.

Research by the Local Government Association found local authorities only have enough money to replace less than one-third of the number of homes sold over the past six years.

In addition to providing extra funding, the LGA is calling on the government to allow councils to keep all the receipts for the properties they sell, rather than having to hand over a portion to the Treasury.

According to the figures, more than 60,000 properties have been sold under the scheme since 2012, at average prices of half the market rate – leaving local authorities with enough funds to build or purchase only 14,000 replacement homes.

The LGA said two-thirds of councils in England will have no chance of replacing the same number of homes sold off under right to buy in five years’ time without “significant” restructuring of the scheme.

About 12,000 properties were sold under the scheme last year, but the study showed that by 2023, councils would only be able to replace 2,000 of them.

The LGA said local authorities’ ability to reinvest in housing was hampered by a rule that meant a significant portion of all right-to-buy receipts had to be handed over to Whitehall, rather than the in which the homes were sold.

Martin Tett, the LGA’s housing spokesman, said the scheme, which was first implemented under Margaret Thatcher and revived during David Cameron’s time as prime minister, was in danger without “fundamental reform” of its funding.



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