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Only one council home built for every nine sold under Right to Buy

Since the government’s like-for-like promise to replace homes sold under Right to Buy with new council properties in 2012, just one home has been built for every nine sold, official data shows.

Responding to government figures reveal that since the scheme was introduced 32,288 homes have been sold and just 3,644 homes have been started in replacement.

Furthermore, the situation appears to be worsening as 307 homes were started in replacement between April and June 2015, a 17 per cent decrease on the same quarter in 2014.

Shelter chief executive, Campbell Robb, says: “It’s absolutely shameful that, despite promises to replace every home sold through Right to Buy, the government has built just one for every nine sold.

“With further plans to sell off council homes to fund new Right to Buy discounts of up to £100,000, this is going to decimate our already shrinking stock of affordable homes. At this rate they’ll soon be black-spots across the country where no-one on a normal income can afford to live.

“The autumn spending review is George Osborne’s last chance to prove he’s serious about helping the millions of ordinary people who are bearing the brunt of this crisis, by investing in the genuinely affordable homes they desperately need.”

Meanwhile, research by the housing charity reveals that Camden, Cambridge and York are among the areas to be worst hit by council house sell-off.

Shelter says the impact of government plans to sell of more council housing is potentially devastating, with new research showing that almost 113,000 council homes could face being sold on the private market.

The proposed scheme would force council homes worth more than a set threshold for the region to be sold once they become vacant. The money would then be used to fund new discounts of up to £100,000 for housing association tenants taking up the Right to Buy.

According to the charity’s estimates, the London borough of Camden would be amongst the worst hit, with more than 11,700 homes facing forced sale – equivalent to almost 50 per cent of their total council housing stock. Kensington and Chelsea could be forced to sell a staggering 97 per cent of their total, or over 6,600 homes, once they become vacant.

But the loss of council homes would not be restricted to London – Cambridge could lose almost 46 per cent of their total, or over 3,200 homes, and York over 1,400 homes or nearly a fifth of total council housing stock.

The report also reveals a dramatic funding gap at the centre of the government’s housing plans. Even when these homes are sold, the charity’s analysis found that the government will be £2.45bn short over four years, leaving a huge deficit in funding for both the huge discounts and replacement homes. 

Campbell Robb adds: “At a time when millions of families are struggling to find somewhere affordable to live, plans to sell off large swathes of the few genuinely affordable homes we have left is only going to make things worse.

“More and more families with barely a hope of ever affording a home of their own and who no longer have the option of social housing, will be forced into unstable and expensive private renting.

“The government needs to scrap this proposal and start helping the millions of ordinary families struggling with sky high housing costs. If George Osborne is serious about turning around the housing crisis, the autumn spending review is his last chance to invest in the genuinely affordable homes this country desperately needs.”

Top twenty areas most affected by the council house sell-off:

Top twenty areas most affected by the council house sell-off:

Area Number of homes above the threshold Proportion of total homes

England Total

112,883

6.8%

Camden

11,714

49.8%

Westminster

9,213

76.2%

Kensington and Chelsea

6,643

97.1%

Islington

6,310

24.0%

Hammersmith and Fulham

6,301

50.3%

Wandsworth

4,145

24.4%

Southwark

3,725

9.5%

Leeds

3,455

6.1%

Cambridge

3,238

45.9%

Epping Forest

3,063

46.6%

St Albans

2,992

59.6%

Dacorum

2,671

25.8%

Welwyn Hatfield

2,334

25.6%

Lambeth

2,305

9.4%

Hackney

2,176

9.7%

Warwick

1,985

35.7%

Solihull

1,882

18.3%

Newcastle upon Tyne

1,651

6.3%

Haringey

1,540

9.8%

York

1,432

18.3%

 

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