Seven local authorities in Kent have sold more than 1,300 council homes under right to buy (RTB) and made in excess of a £120 million, according to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.
Those who buy their home can receive a discount on the market value their council home if they qualify for Right to Buy.
The maximum discount allowable for council homes in Kent is £82,800 The discount increases each year in April in line with the consumer price index (CPI).
In 2012, the coalition government announced a policy to reinvigorate the Right to Buy. As well as significantly increasing the discounts available to tenants, the government promised that all homes lost would be replaced on a one-for-one basis, nationally.
This has not been done in most of the districts who have sold homes. It’s clear councils are struggling to keep pace with the stock that is being lost under RTB, as is clear from the data produced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.
The number of homes sold under Right to Buy -over the period 2012 – 2019 is 1,302. The number of new council homes built over the same period is 460. This means for for every three council homes sold only one is being replaced.
This loss of social rented housing pushes more families into the private rented sector, driving up housing benefit spending and rents and exacerbating our homelessness crisis.
Currently councils retain a third of RTB receipts with the rest kept by the Treasury. If we are to build more then councils must be allowed to keep 100% of the receipts from RTB.
Why councils are selling homes, the numbers of those on their waiting lists is in excess of 14,000 households in Kent as of Oct 2019.
This waiting list would fill all the houses in Hythe (Kent) and Seabrook.
The households on the waiting list is more than the planned new Garden Town at Otterpool Park, in the Folkestone & Hythe District – which reached the pages of Private Eye magazine back Dec 2016 – which will provide up to 10,000 new homes for 10,000 households.
We have in excess of 5,300 empty homes which would house close to 38% of those on the waiting list. However, Kent council’s continue to sell council housing stock and not replacing it with like for like. Those on zero hour contracts, the minimum wage are not the people who will rushing to their banks for mortgages to buy their own home. We need more affordable homes for all and the sell one, build one policy strictly adhered to.
The Shepwayvox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful