Right to buy houses not being replaced

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ONE in three councils has not replaced a single house sold through the Right to Buy scheme, official data has found.

With separate analysis suggesting as many as 113,000 council homes will need to be sold off to fund the scheme, some fear it will leave many areas bereft of affordable housing.

Analysis of provisional figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) showed that, of the 166 councils in England listed as having sold properties through Right to Buy since 2012, 33% had not replaced a single home. In Wigan, of the 353 house sold under the scheme, just 16 have been replaced which equates to five per cent.

Only one council in 12 had managed to build enough to replace half their stock, and only two had succeeded in replacing more than 100% of those sold. In total, it means just one home has been built for every nine sold. This is in stark contrast to the Government’s pledge of a like-for-like replacement.

Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb warned the problem was only likely to get worse, leaving some areas with no affordable homes.

Local Government Association housing spokesman Peter Box said many councils were being hampered by complex rules and restrictions.

He added: “There are millions of people on council waiting lists and local authorities are keen to get on with the job of building the new homes that people in their areas desperately need. Councils are restricted from replacing homes by complex rules and restrictions on the use of receipts from sales.

“It is imperative that councils are given the powers to replace housing sold through Right to Buy quickly and effectively as part of the Spending Review. “Councils need to be able to retain 100% of receipts from sales while Right to Buy discounts should be set locally so they reflect the cost of houses in the area.”