“Right to buy is costing English councils £1bn – £300m net – a year and cutting the discounts could lead to an extra 12,000 homes being built every year, a trade body has said.
Since 2012, when the discount was increased to £108,000 in London and £80,000 in the rest of the country, 69,467 homes have been sold, the Chartered Institute of Housing revealed in a briefing paper on Tuesday.
But construction has only started on 18,958 to replace those homes sold, the CIH calculated.
The housing body is calling for the policy to be suspended and for the government instead to invest in building more social homes for rent.
Terrie Alafat, CIH chief executive, said: “Not only are we failing to build enough new homes for social rent, we are losing them at a time when we need them more than ever.
“Suspending the scheme means the government could invest the savings in more homes for social rent – which is often the only truly affordable option for people on lower incomes – and also in fairer and more cost-effective ways to help tenants access home ownership.”
CIH research from January found that more than 150,000 social homes for rent in total had been lost between 2012 and 2017 due to right to buy and other factors. It estimated this figure will reach 230,000 by 2020 unless “we take action now”, Alafat said.
Council leaders warned earlier this year that just one third of councils were able to replace homes sold under the scheme in five years’ time.
The Local Government Association called for “fundamental reform” of the scheme and for councils to be allowed to borrow in order to build new homes….”