Council homes are being sold off nearly three times faster than they can be replaced, new analysis has revealed.
Some local authorities have sold 20 times the number of homes that were built in three years.
Tower Hamlets Council has sold seven times as many council homes as were built over the three years and raised just under £104m in cash. “It takes time to find suitable building sites and procure the construction of new homes,” a spokesman for the council said.
In 2014 research revealed that 50% of Right to Buy homes in Tower Hamlets were being privately rented. The research also highlights that local authorities are now frequently forced to rent former homes back at higher market rates in order to discharge their statutory homelessness duties.
As of 2016 there were 19,000 households on the housing waiting list, 7,078 overcrowded households and 522 ‘homeless’ households.
Former Labour London Assembly Member and present Tower Hamlets Mayor said “Right to Buy has played a central role in causing and exacerbating the current housing crisis. Future governments must recognise that the right of a council tenant to buy their home at a discount, subsidised by other taxpayers, cannot be at the expense of the right of the vast majority of people to have a decent, affordable home to live in.”
The Liberal Democrat party requested the figures, said they showed the government’s aim to replace council houses one for one had been “utter fantasy”.
Their ex leader Tim Farron said “Council housing used to mean a decent home for all, now it means years on a waiting list and council houses being flogged off for over a million,” he said.
“Thousands of council houses are being sold off by the Tories never to be replaced. This is devastating our social housing stock and robbing many families of a safety net.”
Farron said new safeguards and funding should ensure councils were able to replace housing stock. “The Conservative ideological crusade over right to buy is ripping the heart of communities and threatens to change the face of many towns up and down the country,” he said.