Call to abolish ‘Right to Buy’ after reports of private renting
More than 40 per cent of London council houses sold under Right to Buy ‘rented out privately’, according to analysis of data
The government is being called to scrap ‘Right to Buy’ in after it emerged more than 40 per cent of council houses sold under the scheme in London are now rented out privately.
Councils in the capital are also spending at least £22 million a year renting back their former homes to house homeless families, according to analysis of data released under Freedom of Information.
The figures have been published in a report by Labour London assembly member Tom Copley. Its release comes just days before the policy is to be ended in Wales on 26 January.
Labour’s housing spokesman at City Hall, Copley said it would be “reckless” to continue with right-to-buy when the need for social housing “far outweighs” the numbers being built.
Copley said something has gone very wrong when tens of thousands of homes built to be let at social rents for the public good are now being rented out at market rates for private profit, sometimes back to the very councils that were forced to sell them.
He said the report also showed some councils have bought back homes they formerly owned at more than six times the price they sold them for. At the very least, they want to see the Government exempting newly built council homes from the Right to Buy and legislating to prevent Right to Buy homes being let on the private market. But with councils fearing their investment in social housing could be wasted, and the Right to Buy adding to London’s housing crisis, abolition is the best way to protect the capital’s social housing stock.
The Right to Buy policy – which ended in Scotland in 2016 – was introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1980 to give council tenants the chance to buy their homes at a discounted price.
But according to the new report, some 42 per cent of London homes sold under the scheme are now rented out by private landlords, up from 36 per cent in 2014.
The housing minister Kit Malthouse responded that under their Right to Buy scheme, over 100,000 social housing tenants have now got a foot on the property ladder since 2010, including more than 17,000 in London. This government is determined to make the dream of home ownership a reality for as many families as possible and to deliver much needed homes in the capital.
Kit said they have lifted the HRA [housing revenue account] borrowing cap for local authorities so they can build more houses in the areas where they are needed the most, and delivered 88,000 new affordable homes in London since 2010.