Many councils fail to replace social housing lost to right to buy

Dozens of councils have failed to replace a single home sold off under the Tories ’ Right to Buy in the last year.

Shock figures show at least 32 town halls lost homes under the controversial scheme without starting a single direct replacement.

A further 15 councils didn’t record a single new home but had some data missing in government figures.

The analysis said 12,383 council homes were sold overall under Right to Buy between July 2016 and June 2017 – but just 4,813 (38%) were replaced in the same period.

The figures are an embarrassment for Theresa May after she summoned housebuilding giants to Downing Street to “fix the broken housing market.”

Bosses of Barratt, Redrow and Taylor Wimpey were among more than 20 developers who met the Prime Minister ahead of measures expected in next month’s budget.

The official government statistics, compiled by the Lib Dems, show Leicester City Council sold off 398 homes under the scheme from July 2016 to June 2017.

Yet the council did not make a single ‘start on site’ of replacement homes in the same period, the figures show.

Hull, Wigan and Doncaster all also sold more than 170 homes in the 12-month period without starting any direct replacements.

Councils had warned they were too cash-strapped to replace homes like-for-like when the Tories announced they would extend Right to Buy to housing associations in 2015.

Local Government Association housing spokesman Martin Tett said: “Councils only keep a third of all receipts from homes sold under Right to Buy.

“Further complex rules and restrictions mean councils are struggling to rapidly replace them.

“It is vital that councils are able to retain 100% of receipts from any council homes they sell.”

Leicester City Council assistant mayor Andy Connelly said Right to Buy had cut the city’s housing stock from 1,500 to 1,200 in just two years – and cost £1.6m in lost rent last year.”