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Fewer council houses being sold, figures reveal

By Dominic Robertson | Property | Published:

Fewer council houses are being sold under Right to Buy in Shropshire, new figures reveal.

The latest figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show that Shropshire Council sold 29 council homes under the Right to Buy scheme in 2018-19.

It was down from 36 in the previous year. The authority bought or started building 18 homes over the same period – meaning a net loss of 11.

The council earned £1.6 million from the sale of the homes.

Right to Buy was implemented by the Conservative government in 1980, with the aim of helping council house tenants buy their rented homes at a discount.

A Local Government Association spokesperson, said money spent on housing benefit should go towards building new homes to tackle the housing crisis.

Scrap

She said: "The loss of social housing means that we are spending more and more on housing benefit to supplement expensive rents, instead of investing in genuinely affordable homes.

"The Government must go beyond the limited measures announced so far, scrap the housing borrowing cap, and enable all councils across the country to borrow to build once more.

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"We have long called for reforms to devolve the Right to Buy scheme so that councils can set discounts locally and retain 100 per cent of their receipts to invest in more homes locally."

Nationally, 10,213 council homes were purchased by tenants in 2018-19 – 2,663 fewer than during the previous year.

However, only 4,671 new homes were added to the local authorities' stock over the year.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: "Right to Buy has helped people who wouldn’t otherwise have been able to afford to buy. Sadly, we’re still building far fewer homes than we’re selling off.

"This has hugely reduced the amount of social housing available, and is nothing short of a disaster when hundreds of thousands of people are homeless and millions are struggling in deeply insecure and expensive private renting.

"There’s an obvious solution – build more social homes and ensure those sold are always replaced. We need 3.1 million new social homes over the next 20 years."

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