ONCE again, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has urged the Government to suspend right to buy after the latest official figures show a continued depletion of social housing.
The latest figures released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) show that from July to September 2018, 2,417 council homes were sold off under the right to buy scheme.
Meanwhile, in the same period only 1,160 replacement homes were started on site or acquired.
Since right to buy discounts were increased in April 2012, 72,929 homes have been sold, while just 20,746 have been started or acquired to replace them.
“Not only are we failing to build enough homes for social rent – right to buy means we are losing them at a time when millions of people need genuinely affordable housing more than ever,” said Terrie Alafat CBE, the CIH’s chief executive (main picture).
“Our research shows that we 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.”
The CIH claims that right to buy is costing councils £300 million a year. Cutting the discounts available by a third could lead to an extra 12,000 homes being built a year, it has calculated. But the organisation says right to buy should be suspended altogether to “stem the loss” of social rented homes.
“We support the principle of helping tenants move into home ownership if that’s what they want, but it cannot be at the expense of other people in need,” Alafat added. “And we know that the Government is consulting on ways to make it easier for councils to replace the homes they sell under right to buy, which is welcome.
“But we still believe ministers should suspend the scheme to stem the loss of social rented homes, remove the barriers stopping councils from replacing homes sold and look at more effective ways to help people access home ownership.”