Right to buy discounts to treble
The government will treble the discount available to council tenants looking to buy their homes in some parts of the country as details of the reinvigorated right to buy scheme have emerged.
The Communities and Local Government today unveiled its consultation paper on the right to buy, announcing proposals to increase the cap on discounts to £50,000.
The new cap would double the maximum discount available in much of the country, while trebling it in most parts of London.
The revival of the right to buy, first announced during autumn’s Conservative Party conference, has been met with concern from some local authorities among fears that they would not be allowed to retain receipts from sales locally.
CLG said that the consultation will consider the different methods in which the receipts can be used to deliver replacement affordable rent homes on a one-for-one basis, as pledged by the government.
Housing minister Grant Shapps said the government was ‘determined to maintain the number of affordable homes for rent’, repeating the commitment that ‘every additional home that is sold will be replaced by a new affordable home on a one-for-one basis’.
The Local Government Association has called for receipts to be retained in full by local councils and for councils to be allowed to decide on discount rates.
‘If the receipts are pooled nationally, not only will this lead to money being wasted on bidding processes and Whitehall bureaucracy, but it could hit families hard who are desperately waiting for an affordable home in their local area,’ said David Parsons, chairman of the LGA’s environment and housing board.
‘It is paramount that councils are given the ability to decide the discount tenants receive, to ensure that there is enough money from right to buy sales to build enough new homes. Any flat national rate would be arbitrary and could produce unexpected results due to house price variations across the country.
‘In respect to the receipts from right to buy sales, it is vital that all of the money raised is kept by councils, to enable them to quickly invest in affordable housing locally. Councils are trusted by local people to ensure that housing meets their needs and must be given the means to do so.’
The consultation on right to buy is open until 2 February.