Authorities across the country commit to local one-for-one replacement
Well over 100 councils across England have seized the opportunity to use cash proceeds from the reinvigorated Right to Buy to help meet the housing needs of hard working local families, Housing Minister Grant Shapps said today.
The revamped Right to Buy, launched in April, offers England’s 2.5 million council tenants discounts of up to £75,000 when buying their home - tripling the discount in many parts of the country, and quadrupling it in London.
For the first time, every extra council property sold under the scheme will be replaced by a new affordable home for rent.
Council freedom to build
Today the Minister revealed that of the 167 councils which retain housing stock, more than two thirds (120) have already signed up to a one-for-one deal that allows them to keep the receipts from their additional Right to Buy sales.
This agreement will give them the freedom to:
- decide on the type, size and location of the new homes they build according to local needs; and
- work with other organisations such as housing associations to ensure the additional affordable homes are built in their area.
The remaining 47 councils yet to sign an agreement will have to pass their additional receipts into a central pot from which they will be able to bid for funding to invest in affordable homes.
But Mr Shapps stressed the door would still be open for these councils to sign up to use Right to Buy cash to build new homes in their area. Those who sign up by September will be able to keep receipts from July sales onward.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said:
The reinvigorated Right to Buy has given hope back to thousands of aspiring council tenants who want to own their home - and for the first time, every extra home sold will be replaced on a one for one basis.
So I’m pleased that 120 councils have seized this prime opportunity to refresh their housing stock by signing up to keep the cash from sales in their area.
Not only will they be able to hand the keys to home ownership to their existing tenants, they will also be able to help families who for too long have been left languishing on their waiting lists.
Notes to editors
The councils that have already signed up to deliver one-for-one replacement locally are:
Additional Right to Buy receipts from the 47 councils that have not signed up to the one-for-one deal will be returned to the Homes and Communities Agency - or the Greater London Authority in London.
To ensure best value for taxpayers’ money Right to Buy funds should account for no more than 30 per cent of the total spend on new homes - in line with the highly successful Affordable Homes Programme, which is expected to deliver up to 170,000 new affordable homes by 2015.
The cash raised from Right to Buy sales must be spent on new affordable homes for rent within three years of first receiving it. If the money remains unspent after three years it will be returned to Whitehall to be invested nationally in more housebuilding.