Charity warns Right to Buy will cut 113,000 council homes

Kensington and Chelsea will lose 97 per cent of its social housing stock


Homelessness charity Shelter has released new analysis suggesting that the government’s Right to Buy plans could lead to the sell-off of almost 113,000 council homes across the UK. The government plans to allow housing association tenants to buy their own homes at a discount, depleting affordable social housing. It means homes worth more than a certain threshold will be sold to the private sector once they become vacant.

Today Shelter has warned that these plans could see around one-in-14 (6.8 per cent) council homes in England facing a forced sale. In some London boroughs social housing will almost disappear – in Kensington and Chelsea, for example, 97 per cent of all council-housing stock would have to be sold to the private sector once vacant. In Camden, almost half of social housing would be affected.

Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said:

“More and more families with barely a hope of ever affording a home of their own and who no longer have the option of social housing, will be forced into unstable and expensive private renting.

‘The government needs to scrap this proposal and start helping the millions of ordinary families struggling with sky high housing costs.”

The government has insisted that it will build new homes to compensate for these losses, but FoI requests by Labour group housing spokesman Tom Copley found that over the next ten years 1.5 council homes are expected to be lost for every new home that is built in London. In outer London councils expect to lose two homes for every new build home.

It is hard to see how much worse things can get for people in need of social housing. In Kensington and Chelsea, between April 2014 and the end of March 2015, there were only 502 properties available for the council to let.

The borough’s website states ‘Unless you have high priority for housing, it is unlikely that we will ever be able to offer you social housing’, If Shelter’s analysis is correct, then social housing will become obsolete for people living in this area.

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward

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5 Responses to “Charity warns Right to Buy will cut 113,000 council homes”

  1. Selohesra

    Its not like these homes are being destroyed – if just a few new homes are built with the proceeds the total housing capacity will increase. Perhaps another way of making the housing stock go further would be by not having net migration of >300K each year?

  2. blarg1987

    As right to buy last time round showed the number of replacement units was less then the number of units sold.

  3. Peter Nelson

    Shirley Porter
    While leader of Westminster City Council she oversaw the “Building Stable Communities” policy, later described as the “homes for votes” scandal and was consequently accused of gerrymandering.[nb 1] The policy was judged illegal by the district auditor, and a surcharge of £27m levied on her in 1996.[6] This was later raised to £42 million with interest and costs. She eventually settled in 2004, paying a full payment of £12.3 million.[7]

    One up on her then; the end always been into ethnic cleansing

  4. Peter Nelson

    So naive and so wrong

  5. Giles Farthing

    Peter you are the naive one. How do you suppose the immigrants impact on housing supply. Probably positively in your mind

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