(This is the text of an Opinion column that first appeared in the Brighton Argus on 26th August 2015)
A former council flat in London, near Covent Garden, has been sold for £1.21 million, nine times the £130,000 that the seller paid in 1990 under Right to Buy legislation. This equated to a profit of over £1 million.
I would like someone to justify why it is morally justifiable, economically sensible, or politically acceptable for an asset (social housing), created through public investment to be lost and at the same time create a millionaire of someone whose only contribution was once being in housing need and unable to afford to rent or buy a home.
The Right to Buy does nothing to meet housing need, doesn’t help those in the private rented sector, and denies tax payers a proper return on our investment.
Last week Inside Housing magazine reported that four out of every ten homes bought under the Right to Buy are now being rented out to private tenants. Typically, rents for these homes are three or four times higher than the rents charged when they were let by councils.
In Brighton and Hove we have an unprecedented housing crisis. People living in the private rented sector in the city are spending 49.33% of their income on rent.
There are plans to extend the Right to Buy to housing associations. I plead with those in parliament not to do this. In fact, if we are to begin to address our housing crisis, Right to Buy must be ended.