Tuesday, 23rd August, 2016
The LGA Lib Dems support Liberal Democrat council groups across England & Wales
A template press release on Right to Buy Replacement is below-
RIGHT TO BUY REPLACEMENTS IN ENGLAND FALLING SHARPLY, LIB DEM COUNCILLOR [YOUR NAME] WARNS
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.”