LGA Lib Dems: Right to Buy Template Press Release

A template press release on Right to Buy Replacement is below-


The number of homes sold under Right to Buy (RTB) in England that councils have been able to start replacing fell by more than a quarter last year, [YOUR NAME] has warned.

Latest figures show 12,246 council homes were sold to tenants under RTB in England in 2015/16 but just 2,055 replacements were started by councils – a drop of 27 per cent on the year before.

Councils only keep a third of all receipts from sold RTB homes and further complex rules and restrictions are hampering the ability of councils to rapidly replace homes, local government leaders said.

The Local Government Association forecasts that 66,000 council homes will be sold to tenants under the existing RTB scheme by 2020 and fear councils will struggle to replace the majority of these homes.

Local government leaders warn this drop in the number of much needed council homes will exacerbate the housing crisis, increase homelessness and housing benefit spending at a time when there are 1.4 million people on council housing waiting lists.

[YOUR NAME] said: “The Right To Buy scheme needs urgent reform to ensure councils are able to replace housing sold quickly and effectively. Liberal Democrats have long argued that councils need to be able retain 100 per cent of receipts from any council homes they sell and Right to Buy discounts should be set locally to reflect local house prices.

“The government must also make the forced sale of high value council homes voluntary and to allow them to keep 100 percent of those receipts so that they can build new ones.

“Amid growing demand for affordable homes to buy and rent, this should be part of a wider ambition to allow councils to resume their historic role as a major builder of new homes in light of the economic uncertainty created by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union”.

[YOUR NAME] added:

“Current Right to Buy arrangements are restricting councils from being able to replace homes being sold under the scheme. Right to Buy will quickly become a thing of the past in England if councils continue to be prevented from building new homes for tenants to actually buy.

“Housing reforms that reduce rents and force them to sell their homes will make building new homes and replacing those sold even more difficult. Such a loss in social housing risks pushing more people into the more expensive private rented sector, increasing homelessness and housing benefit spending.

“Scotland has scrapped RTB, and Wales is looking at doing the same. Councils in England must be able to choose whether to operate the scheme or not”.

“If we are to stand a real chance of solving our housing crisis, councils need the funding and powers to replace any homes sold under Right to Buy quickly and reinvest in building more of the genuine affordable homes our communities desperately need.”


Adrian Sanders says

Sorry about this but I'm confused. Torbay transferred its council housing to a housing assoc decades ago. Tenants with a residual right to buy can still exercise that right. But where do the receipts go? To the HA or the Council?
Is the press release referring to former Council houses under HA management sold under RTB, or current Council Houses never transferred to a HA now being sold under RTB?
Rather important as if the answer to the latter is yes the press release pretty pointless given there are no council houses in our area.

Rob Banks, LGA Lib Dem Group says

Hi Adrian

I have replied via email, but to clarify for anyone else:

First off, it is of course up to local campaigners to see if such template press releases are relevant to their patch. For those with retained housing stock, it could certainly be of help, but still could be in areas that have stock transferred. To give a bit more detail:

- 66k to 2020 is based on a national projection of 1% RtB sales annually, (up from 0.6% pre- RTB reinvigoration)
- This is based on councils who retained their stock, with further confirmation from stock holding authorities that 1% of stock lost to RTB every year is in line with expectations.
- so no authority (whether stock holding or not) knows for sure exactly how many homes they will be forced to sell before 2020, all we can go on is current trends
- What a councillor can say however is “according to national projections this means x homes in our area could be sold”

So the answer to your question is no, it doesn’t include council houses now under HA control.

In terms of receipts, it all depends on what was the deal with the Housing Association when the stock was transferred. EG some authorities have a deal where the LA still gets some receipts from right to buy sales, other councils do not get anything at all.

You could also ask your Housing Association how many properties are subject to the preserved Right to Buy and ask them how many have been sold under preserved RTB and work out a projection based on that figure.



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