Shelter Warns of 2.5bn Deficit in Raising Right to Buy Money

Sales of empty high-value council homes will not raise enough money to fund the Right to Buy extension and other housing policies, leaving the Treasury with a £2.5bn deficit, Shelter has claimed.

The homelessness charity has calculated that the government’s policy of forcing local authorities to sell homes that fall within the most expensive third of properties in an area by size will not generate enough cash to fund several policies as the government hoped.

Its report, The Forced Council Home Sell-Off, today calls for the government to drop its policy of forced council home sales.

The government is hoping to raise enough cash from the sales to replace council homes sold with cheaper properties, pay for housing association Right to Buy (RTB) discounts, cover historic debt and support a £1bn regeneration fund.

The Conservatives in April published a table of indicative value thresholds and estimated 210,000 homes would be classed as ‘high-value’, with 15,000 homes becoming empty per year and therefore put up for sale.

However, Shelter calculated, using government housing statistics, that only 113,000 homes would be classed as high-value using the originally suggested thresholds. According to Shelter, £7.2bn would be raised from sales receipts, but £9.7bn would be needed to cover the Right to Buy extension and other policies.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said the sell-off would force struggling families into “unstable and expensive” private renting.

Mr Robb said: “The government needs to scrap this proposal and start helping the millions of ordinary families struggling with sky-high housing costs.”

Source: By Jonathan Bunn, Carl Brown – Inside Housing

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