District Councils’ Network responds to the Prime Minister’s speech announcing an extension of the right to buy policy
Commenting on the Prime Minister’s speech in Blackpool this afternoon of 9th June, Cllr Sam Chapman-Allen, Chair of the District Councils’ Network said:
“The aspiration of promoting home ownership is certainly a good one, but maintaining an ongoing supply of genuinely affordable housing is essential. Our concern is that houses sold off under an extension of right to buy will not be replaced, as has regrettably been the case in the past.
“At the time when district councils are seeking to support their residents through the intensifying housing crisis, it’s vital houses sold are speedily replaced locally on a one-for-one basis, with councils having some flexibility about how the receipts are used.
“In the Levelling Up White Paper, the Government rightly put real emphasis on restoring local pride in place. Increasing the supply of genuinely affordable social housing should be at the heart of that ambition. The Affordable Homes Programme is an important step in the right direction but we also need to do more to protect existing social housing, improve its quality and invest in new affordable homes. District councils are keen to work with the Government and social housing sector to do just that.
“We believe that councils should have greater flexibility to retain and reinvest receipts from sale of council-owned social housing under Right to Buy, and support the suggestion that councils should retain 100% of these receipts.
“District councils have many decades of experience of social housing management and we urge the government to work with us to ensure these reforms are successful.
“We’re also concerned by suggestions this policy will be funded by the new infrastructure levy on new developments. District councils, like their counterparts elsewhere, while supportive of sustainable development, already face significant costs resulting from new houses being built, and a growing population that needs to be supported with additional services, meaning there are many calls on this funding already.”