Councils respond to pac committee report on extending right to buy

Responding to the Public Accounts Committee’s report on extending Right to Buy, Cllr Sharon Taylor, Vice Chair of the Local Government Association, said:

“Our projections show extending the Right to Buy scheme to housing association tenants could cost £6 billion over the next four years, as almost 100,000 households take up the offer.”

“We share the Committee’s concerns about the difficulty in assessing the impact of this in each local area, and have opposed proposals for it to be funded by forcing councils to sell much needed housing, particularly as the Housing and Planning Bill will give the Secretary of State the power to determine the definition of “higher value” for every local area.

“We are urging MPs to vote for a vital amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill – passed by the House of Lords – when it returns to the Commons next week. It will mean councils retain sufficient funds to replace any higher value home they are forced to sell to fund the policy one-for-one and with a tenure that best meets local need.”

“This is vital to ensure the policy does not severely hamper councils from rapidly replacing the socially rented homes that people in their areas desperately need. Such a loss in social housing would have the unintended consequence of leading to growing waiting lists, increased homelessness and higher housing benefit spending.”

“Not only that, Right to Buy will quickly become a thing of the past if councils are prevented from building the new homes for tenants to actually buy. Homes for affordable and social rent – alongside for home ownership – are crucial to help everyone in our communities access the home they need now and to provide for future generations.”