A cross-party Parliamentary Committee has said that councils should not have to meet the costs of extending Right to Buy to Housing Association tenants.
Responding to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee report, Cllr Keith House, Liberal Democrat Housing spokesman at the Local Government Association, said:
“We agree with the Committee that the Right to Buy extension to housing association tenants should absolutely not be funded by forcing councils to sell off their homes.
“As a minimum, we forecast councils would be forced to sell 22,000 ‘high value’ homes in order to fund plans to extend the Right to Buy scheme. This number could be much higher depending on how government chooses to define ‘high value’. Councils should always be free to manage their assets to meet the needs of local communities and must retain 100 per cent of all receipts.
“New housing measures, such as the loss of £2.2 billion from council housing budgets by 2020 as a result of social housing rent cuts, risk making building any replacements all but impossible. This loss of social rented housing risks pushing more families into the private rented sector, driving up housing benefit spending and rents and making it more difficult for families to save the deposit needed for their first house.
1. Forcing councils to sell off homes to fund the extension of Right to Buy to housing association tenants could cost councils £6 billion by 2020. Around 24,000 housing association tenants a year will buy their home with an average discount of £63,271 under the Right to Buy extension – the discount would cost £1.5 billion a year – http://www.local.gov.uk/media-releases/-/journal_content/56/10180/7514903/NEWS
2. 5,500 high value council homes would be sold each year up to 2020 should “high value” be defined as the top third value of regional market. This figure could vary significantly depending on how Government defines “high value”. The Housing and Planning Bill effectively gives Government the freedom to decide how much it would like to “tax” each council with housing stock, and to define high value for their area to deliver that figure – http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/media-releases/-/journal_content/56/10180/7668062/NEWS