The Local Government Association has warned local councils that the Right to Buy scheme is becoming unsustainable thanks to councils being unable to rebuild homes as quickly as they’re being sold.
With almost £6 billion worth of discounts being given out since 2012, when the size of the discount was increased, the number of Right to Buy sales has quadrupled. Councils being unable to keep all of the money raised from RTB sales has meant that they are only able to replace a third of the homes they have sold since 2012, meaning that their ability to provide housing for those who are homeless and vulnerable.
Housing spokesperson for the LGA, Cllr David Renard, said:
“Councils want to urgently address the number of people on waiting lists for a council home and stuck in temporary accommodation. At a time of an escalating cost of living crisis, we urgently need to build more council homes, not have less.
“It is becoming impossible for councils to replace homes as quickly as they’re being sold, and they are increasingly having to do so with far less money than the property sells for because of discounts being offered.
“Every home sold that isn’t replaced risks pushing more families into the private rented sector, driving up housing benefit spending and rents and exacerbating our homelessness crisis.
“Right to Buy continues to enable many families to achieve their dream of getting on the housing ladder and owning their own home. However, without reform of the scheme, future generations will not enjoy the same opportunity.”
The LGA has said that the Right to Buy scheme faces an ‘uncertain future’, unless the rules change to allow councils to set the discounts locally as well as giving them the ability to keep all of the money received from the sales. This would allow them to fund the replacement homes, rather than being stuck only being able to replace a third.
Another suggestion from the LGA was that councils need the ability to combine receipts from the Right to Buy scheme with funding from the government. According to the LGA, combining receipts with funding, such as the Affordable Homes Programme, would give councils more flexibility over how the new council housing is delivered.