Only one-in-ten council homes sold off under Right To Buy is being replaced

The figures come despite a pledge by the Government to replace all of them

Jon Stone
Thursday 17 September 2015 11:27 BST
A bricklayer contributes to the construction of a home
A bricklayer contributes to the construction of a home (Getty)

Only one-in-ten council homes sold off under the Government’s Right To Buy policy has been replaced by a new one, new figures show.

The shortfall comes despite a promise from the Government that every home sold would get a replacement.

Between April and June 2015 2,779 homes were sold by councils through scheme in England, but only 307 were started or acquired using the money raised.

This amounts to a roughly 11 per cent replacement rate for the quarter. Over the last year to June 12,235 homes were sold and 1,842 started to replace them.

In June sales under Right To Buy hit a seven-year high, with London alone account for over a third of all sales.

Right To Buy homes are very likely to end up being rented out to tenants at a profit by private landlords, with around 40 per cent of homes sold under the scheme now in their hands, according to research released last month.

Gavin Smart, the deputy chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said the Government was “nowhere near” doing what it said it would do.

“We understand the government’s aim to encourage people to become home owners, but we’re very concerned about the loss of social rented homes at a time when more and more people are in need of affordable housing,” he said.

“Today’s figures make it clear that the number of replacement homes being built is nowhere near the number being sold.”

It has been more than three years since Right To Buy discounts were increased and the Government pledged to make one-for-one replacements of every home sold.

“A revitalised right to buy will unleash a new generation of home ownership and ensure every home sold is replaced," the communities department claimed in 2011.

“For the first time, every additional home that is sold will be replaced by a new affordable home on a one-for-one basis,” Grant Shapps, then housing minister, promised.

“The new homes for affordable rent will help get the nation building again, and help councils meet housing need.”

The Government has also said it will extend Right To Buy to the tenants of housing associations, despite the threat of a legal challenge from some.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that the new policy would result in higher levels of debt and fewer affordable homes across the UK.

The Office for National Statistics also noted that the policy could lead to the reclassification of housing association debt as government debt, which would dramatically increased the national debt by billions in nominal terms.

The Independent contacted the Department for Communities and local government for comment on this story.

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