Responding to today’s announcement that the Government’s Right to Buy scheme will be extended to include housing association tenants, Cllr David Renard, housing spokesperson for the Local Government Association, said:
“Owning your own home is an important step for many people, and an extension of the Right to Buy scheme to housing associations tenants could enable many more to get on the housing ladder.
“However, measures that support homeownership should not lead to any reduction in the overall number of affordable social rented homes. Any houses sold must be replaced quickly, in the same local authority area and on a like for like basis. Equally, the cost of discounts must not be funded from the sale of council housing stock, nor be met from existing government funding commitments for delivery of additional affordable homes.
“The Right to Buy scheme for council tenants also needs urgent reform and councils need to be able to keep 100 per cent of receipts and set discounts locally. The number of new council homes being built is not able to keep pace with those sold under Right to Buy, and the discounts available, along with the funds that have to be returned to Treasury, are leaving councils with fewer and fewer resources to catch up.
“With over 1.1 million households currently on social housing waiting lists, any loss of social rented housing would risk pushing more families into the private rented sector, as well as driving up housing benefit spending and rents and exacerbating our homelessness crisis at a time of an escalating cost of living crisis. We need to be urgently increasing, not reducing the supply of affordable social homes.”