Figures show councils must buy new homes or RTB will ‘grind to a halt’

Today’s Right to Buy figures, released by the government, underline the need for authorities to be allowed to borrow more money to build and buy homes.

The LGA has also once again said that councils need to be able to keep 100% of receipts from Right to Buy sales in order to ensure they own enough housing to keep the scheme running.

The DCLG revealed that an estimated 2,558 dwellings were sold as part of the policy in Q2 2017-18, a reduction on the same period the year before but still a large number.

In addition, the reduced number of homes sold means that councils only received £219.8m rather than the £279.4m which was generated the year before.

Cllr Martin Tett, LGA housing spokesman, said the upcoming Local Government Finance Settlement would be an opportune time to announce changes to the key policy.

“We know that Right to Buy can help those who often couldn’t get on the ladder without it to secure a home of their own – but if the government doesn’t allow councils to replace homes sold off, the Right to Buy itself could grind to a halt,” he explained.

“Councils have lost out on enough homes to house the population of Oxford in the last five years, and we urgently need a model of Right to Buy that actually allows councils to build more homes, in order to increase the opportunities for families.”

There were 744 dwellings started on site or acquired as part of the Right to Buy replacement, and a further 14,736 affordable units started by local authorities the HCA and the GLA. This figure was lower than the equivalent period last year.

This is only the latest in a string of calls from the LGA to completely lift the housing borrowing cap and allow councils to build more homes.

In last month’s Autumn Budget, the Treasury moved the cap up to £1bn for some councils under high pressure, but the move has not satisfied authorities, who believe social housing must be a centrepiece of solving the housing crisis.

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