Changes to Right to Buy

The Government has announced a package of reforms to the Right to Buy scheme, in what is a significant lobbying success for the LGA, following years of campaigning. 

In its response to its 2018 consultation on the use of receipts from Right to Buy sales, the Government has said it will extend the timeframe councils have to spend receipts from three to five years, and increase the percentage cost of a new home councils can fund using receipts from 30 to 40 per cent. 

We are pleased the Government has engaged with us on these reforms and acted on councils’ concerns. Allowing this greater flexibility will boost councils’ ability to build desperately needed affordable homes for local communities. 

Ministers also announced they will be introducing a cap on the use of Right to Buy receipts for acquisitions of existing homes, with the aim of increasing new housing supply. 

If your council feels that the introduction of the cap will adversely affect your housing programmes and your ability to replace stock sold under the Right to Buy, please email my colleague jo.allchurch@local.gov.uk, who would like to hear from you.  

Receipts will also be allowed for use on shared ownership housing and First Homes, as well as housing at affordable and social rent. The changes will take effect from 1 April 2021, with the acquisition cap being introduced from 1 April 2022 on a phased basis.

While we would like to see further reforms to Right to Buy – including allowing councils to keep receipts in full and set discounts locally – overall, this is an important announcement that brings forward positive changes for councils, and shows the Government is listening to us.

With council housing waiting lists set to increase, the Government needs to do everything it can to enable councils to provide the housing communities need, supported by the required services and infrastructure.

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