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Government failing to meet right-to-buy building target

A report published by the government today (March 29) has revealed that only one social home is being built for almost every three sold off under the right-to-buy scheme.

The government’s aim is that for every additional property sold under right to buy, a new affordable home for rent will be provided nationally under the one-for-one additions policy.

Currently, local authorities are able to keep the receipts from additional right-to-buy sales to pay off debt and fund additional affordable housing, but this report reveals the government are still well behind their target.

In October to December 2017-18, local authorities sold an estimated 2,815 council homes under the right to buy scheme. This is a decrease of 19% from the 3,470 sold in the same quarter of 2016-17. The sales brought in £237.9m, 19% lower than the £292.3m in the same quarter of 2016-17.

During this period 1,101 homes were being built or acquired (as part of right to buy replacement policy), 1% higher than the number started or acquired in the same quarter of 2016-17.

During the 12 month period to the end of December 2017 there were 11,649 right to buy sales and 4,566 social homes were built.

In order to qualify for the right to buy scheme, a social tenant must have accrued at least three years public sector tenancy. This does not need to be continuous, nor does it need to have been accrued whilst living in the tenant’s current property.

Shelter’s campaigns director, Greg Beales, said: ‘These dismal figures show that at a time when more families than ever need affordable homes, their chances of getting one are being wrenched away.’

Social housing must play a critical role in fixing the housing crisis in the future, but not if housing that’s sold off is not replaced, depleting what’s available for families who need urgent help.’

It is absolutely vital that any properties sold are replaced on a like-for-like basis. Without this guarantee, every home lost is another dent in our dwindling supply of the genuinely affordable homes people are crying out for.’

  • Read the report here

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