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Nottingham City Council to buy back former council homes

Nottingham City Council is to buy back former council houses, including many sold off under the government’s controversial Right to Buy scheme.

The council’s executive has approved plans to buy a total of more than 300 properties over the next four years in order to tackle the growing shortage of housing in the city.

The properties will some newly-built homes, as well as council houses and flats that have previously been sold off through the Right To Buy scheme.

All the purchases will be paid for using receipts from Right To Buy and council borrowing.

The Right to Buy scheme was first introduced by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

Council tenants have the option to buy their home at a discount depending on how long they have lived there.

Under the rules of the scheme, the local authority can spend the money from the sales on up to 30% of the cost of a new or replacement affordable home.

But if the receipts are not spent within three years of the sale, they have to be given to the Treasury with interest.

In April, a survey by the National Federation of ALMOS (arms-length management organisations) revealed local authority housing companies were unable to replace almost a third of homes sold under Right to Buy scheme last year.

According to the survey, its members built around 2,000 homes last year but sold over 2,813 homes under Right to Buy, which means a net loss of at least 864 properties

In January, Labour’s London Assembly Housing spokesman, Tom Copley claimed London councils are spending more than £22m each year renting back homes sold off under the Right to Buy programme.

‘Though we have completed 500 new homes in partnership with Nottingham City Homes in the past five years as part of Nottingham’s biggest build programme for a generation, the waiting list and issue of homelessness continue to grow,’ said portfolio holder for planning, housing and heritage, Cllr Linda Woodings.

‘We are always looking for ways to boost the amount of affordable housing in Nottingham and committed to providing quality housing for all. Buying homes this way allows us to provide quality accommodation in a quick and cost-effective way and make sure that money is reinvested locally.’

‘The Right To Buy rules also offer the Council some help and protection. Where a property has been sold through the scheme, any owner of that home must offer it back to the council first it they are selling within 10 years of it being bought from the authority.

‘The Right To Buy discount can be reduced to zero on a home that is sold within 15 years of it being built or bought by the council,’ added Cllr Woodings.

Photo Credit – Mastersenaiper (Pixabay)

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