BREAKING NEWS – The government’s Right-to-Buy policy for housing association tenants has not been accurately costed, is open to wide-scale abuse and may make the housing crisis worse, claim MPs.
The Chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has said that the controversial “Right to Buy” scheme introduced in the Chancellor’s budget last year was not just based on the “back of an envelope calculation” because there was “no envelope at all”.
Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and now released by 91 councils in England, show that in the last year 37.6 per cent of flats sold to tenants under the Right-to-Buy scheme are now being sublet at up to seven times the cost of average social rents.
The Government’s manifesto pledge to allow housing association tenants to buy their own home at a discount has been controversial and hotly contested by the housing associations. The claim is that it has not been accurately costed, is open to abuse, and may well end up making the UK housing crisis a whole lot worse, the influential committee of MPs warn.
The all party committee said the Department of Communities and Local Government should publish detailed data on how it intended to ensure that every home sold off would be replaced with a like for like social property. It needs:
“a full analysis showing how this policy is to be funded, provide a clear statement of where financial and other risks lie, and spell out its contingency plan if its policies prove not to be fiscally neutral. Experience of the reinvigorated Right-to-Buy for council tenants shows that meeting such one-for-one replacement targets can be difficult. Moreover, replacement homes can be in different areas, be a different size, and cost more to rent,” the committee said.
Committee member and chairman Meg Hillier added that while the policy would affect many thousands of people, ministers had failed so far to provide even basic information on how the scheme would work.
“Where new homes are built in different areas, or are let at higher rents or sold as Starter Homes, the Department’s policy of extending the Right-to-Buy could mean a long-term reduction in homes for social rent in some areas,” she said.
Ms Hillier had said that the Government should be “embarrassed” by the findings of the report – one of the few done by the Public Accounts Committee in advance of the policy becoming law, rather that after the event.
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) April 29, 2016