Fresh calls for government to suspend right to buy

New Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government figures have revealed that 11,465 homes were sold by councils under the right to buy scheme in 2017/18, while councils were only able to replace 4,944 homes using the receipts.

With only 43 per cent of the homes sold having been replaced, a number of housing organisations, including the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), have urged the government to suspend the policy to stem the loss of social housing.

The figures show that 2,722 homes were sold under the Right to Buy between January and March, meaning 66,647 homes have been sold since discounts were raised in 2012. Therefore, the government is now more than 1,500 homes behind its caveated promise to replace ‘additional’ homes sold as a result of the increased discounts within three years.

Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the CIH, said: “It cannot be right that not only are we not building enough homes for social rent, we are losing them at a time when we need them more than ever. Our analysis shows that we have lost more than 150,000 social rented homes between 2012 and 2017 due to right to buy and other factors, and that figure will reach 230,000 by 2020 unless we take action now.

“We support the principle of helping tenants move into home ownership but it cannot be at the expense of other people in need. We need to look at fairer ways to help tenants into home ownership, because this is clearly not the way to do it. We are calling on the government to suspend the right to buy to stem the loss of social rented homes, remove the barriers stopping councils from replacing homes sold under the scheme and look at more effective ways to help people access home ownership.”