Social housing lost through the Right to Buy might not be replaced by social housing …. if they are replaced at all

Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I am no fan of the Right to Buy, and strongly opposed to extending it to housing associations.

In my post yesterday I wrote that 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.” Rents for former council homes now in the private rented sector (4 of every 10 homes is now rented out privately) are three or four times higher than the rents charged when they were let by councils.

The government has long promised a one for one replacement of all homes sold through Right to Buy. To date the replacement ratio is nineteen homes sold for each new one built.

Now it seems that it might be even worse. Those homes that are built to replace social rented homes that have been sold might not even need to be for rent. The excellent Heather Spurr from Inside Housing has quoted a spokesperson for the DCLG who confirmed that the type of ‘affordable housing’ would be decided by ‘local areas’. No one has said what a local area will be and, according to Heather Spurr, “affordable housing can include low-cost homes for sale for buyers whose needs are not met by the market. Starter Homes – properties sold at a 20% discount to first-time buyers under 40 years of age – will also be counted as ‘affordable’ under proposed changes to planning guidance.”

I have asked in the past, and I ask again, who will house the poor and who will house the growing number of middle income households who cannot afford to buy, and who are being priced out of areas like Brighton and Hove?


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