Council will keep all money from Right to Buy sales for two years

Over 16 years, Waltham Forest Council sold 806 of its council homes but was only able to fund 378 replacements

Stock image (credit: Pixabay)

Waltham Forest Council will keep 100% of money raised by selling council homes through the Right to Buy scheme this year, the government has announced.

Councils across the country will also keep all income from sales in the last financial year, in a move the government hopes will boost the number of social homes available.

The Right to Buy scheme allows council tenants to purchase their home at a discount, which increases up to a maximum of £127,940 in London, depending on how long they have lived there.

Since Right to Buy was introduced in the early 1980s, it has raised more than £47billion from sales. According to John Perry from the Chartered Institute of Housing, it is “very unlikely” that “more than half” of this money was given back to councils to pay for new social housing.

In the 16 years from the 2006/07 financial year until 2021/22, 806 Waltham Forest Council homes were purchased through Right to Buy, an average of around 50 each year.

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However, in the same 16-year period, the council was only able to buy or start building 378 council homes with the portion of the money it received from these sales.

Responding to the announcement, the council’s cabinet member for housing Ahsan Khan said: “[This] will help us to build more much-needed homes for social rent and allow people who have grown up in Waltham Forest and whose friends and families are based here to have the chance to enjoy a high-quality, decently priced home. 

“We already have plans to construct 1,000 new social rent properties over the next few years.

“In light of this announcement, we have scheduled an additional session of our Affordable Housing Commission to examine the impact it will have locally. 

“We are determined to build the right homes in the right areas and give local families more opportunity to have a place to call their own.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “We want councils to be able to keep more of the money generated from Right to Buy sales to invest in new social homes for local people and will set out further detail in due course.”

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