The Right to Buy has helped to make the current housing crisis what it is.
For those who will never see the inside of a council home or don’t know what the Right to Buy is, here are a few fun facts:
- Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government launched the Right to Buy Policy in 1980.
- Right to Buy forced local authorities to sell their properties to existing tenants at a heavily discounted price.
- The government banned councils from using the money from the sale of housing stock to build new housing.
- Half the proceeds of the sales were paid to the local authorities, but they were restricted to spending the money to reduce their debt until it was cleared, rather than being able to spend it on building more homes.
- It was well know that Mrs Thatcher was not a fan of council housing.
- More than two million homes were sold under Right to Buy between 1980 and 1995.
- Homeless households in England during the 1980s, trebled from approximately 55,000 (1980) to 165,000 in 1990.
- Labour realised that scrapping the Right to Buy policy would lose votes instead, when they came to power in 1997 they reduced the maximum discount from £50,000 to £38,000 in 1999. This helped to slow down the number of tenants buying their homes.
- Labour also reduced the proportion of Capital Receipts from sales of council housing that local authorities were required to retain, releasing £3 billion.
- By 2002, many people were warning that Right to Buy was making the developing housing crisis worse in many areas. The policy was diminishing the stock of affordable housing, making it harder for many to get on to the housing ladder.
- Local authorities are frequently forced to rent their former homes back at market rates to discharge their statutory homelessness duties.
- In 2000-2001, 53,000 homes were sold under Right to Buy, but only 18,000 new affordable homes were built.
- David Cameron launched a revamped version of Right to Buy in 2012 increasing the cap on the maximum discount to £75,000 or £100,000 for London. This meant a quadrupling of the discount in London and a trebling for most parts of Britain.
- In 2012 ministers pledged that every home sold would be replaced. For the first time, the receipts from additional Right to Buy sales would be used to support the funding of new affordable homes for rent on a ‘one for one’ basis. They claimed this would deliver up to 100,000 new homes and support 200,000 jobs.
- In fact, only one is being replaced for every five sold and the replacements are mostly unaffordable “affordable “ homes, not the social rented homes that have been lost.
- Taxpayers help to fund council homes.
- Taxpayers help to subsidise the massive discounts offered to tenants.
- Following a Freedom of Information request by the Mirror it was revealed that a third of ex-council homes are now owned by rich landlords.