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Govt defends Right to Buy sell off

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The government has insisted any homes sold under the Right to Buy scheme will be replaced by other social housing.

The Conservatives have pledged to increase the scope of the Right to Buy scheme and force housing associations to sell off their properties.

An additional 1.3 million tenants will now be able to purchase their homes for a discounted rate, but the scheme has attracted criticism from those in the housing industry.

However, communities secretary Greg Clark has said this will not lead to a fall in social housing.

He said that ‘consistently, over many years, nearly 86% want to own their home and just because you have signed a social tenancy should not mean you sign away your aspiration to own your own home’.

Housing associations and councils will be expected to replace these properties. However, historically this has failed to happen. Only one in every 19 properties sold under the scheme since 2012 have been replaced.

Housing charity Shelter was particularly critical of the plans. It pointed to Greater Manchester where just two properties have been built to replace the 863 sold under Right to Buy since 2012.

Clark insisted the country would not see a net fall in affordable properties.

“Where the flat is sold to the existing tenant it is not lost, it does not evaporate, and it is sold to someone that has means to pay for it, so then what is released in terms of the sale can then build an extra home – so it is adding to the housing stock,” he said.

“Every housing association property that is sold will be replaced one for one for a new property, so it is not only allowing people to meet their housing aspiration, but to increase the housing stock as well.”

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