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Right to buy scheme virtually disappeared

An astonishing statistic released by homeless charity Shelter reveals that the number of properties now purchased under the right to buy scheme has dropped by over 90% in less than eight years.

Shelter gleaned the figures from their housing data bank and they really do show a dramatic difference. In 2003 over 70,000 homes that were once covered by the cheapest landlord insurance were bought by their former tenants. In 2010 the figure was down to 2.300, a drop of 97%. The figures go some way to explain Prime Minister David Cameron’s assertion at his party conference last week that the Government would do all in its power to increase discounts to encourage more tenants to buy their council homes and at the same time release money for housing associations to fund new building projects.

Campbell Robb, the chief executive of Shelter, was keen to see proof of the Government’s stance saying “Whilst new thinking to tackle our lack of decent, affordable homes is a positive move, it is absolutely critical that any proposals will actually deliver at significant levels to make a real difference. We must ensure the one-for-one commitment to replace right-to-buy homes by building new homes is met, otherwise it will do more harm than good.

“It is also important to recognise that the new right to buy scheme is a small measure and will only benefit a limited number of people. On its own, it will not deliver the quantity of new homes that we need to meet the growing need. The government’s new housing strategy now needs to set out a long term sustainable plan to end the squeeze on families who can’t find a decent affordable home.”

Shelter also revealed that on average, in 2010, housing associations put their rents up three times more than local councils. Association rents going up by £4.40 while council rents went up by just £1.31.

By Simon Dack

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