Council 'not fast enough to replace homes sold off through Right To Buy scheme' but bosses blame Government policy

A leading housing charity has said Doncaster Council not replacing homes fast enough sold off through the Government’s Right to Buy scheme but bosses hit back and said they have their hands tied.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 6:00 am

According to data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, it shows that 81 council homes were privatised through Right to Buy by Doncaster Council in 2020.

Doncaster Council collected £3.6 million through the scheme last year, contributing to £37.3 million raised since 2012.

Councils are expected to replace these homes on a one-for-one basis, but Doncaster Council acquired or began construction on just 19 replacements in 2020.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Right To Buy

Housing charity Shelter said the programme has ‘torn a hole’ in the national social housing supply and warned that recent policy changes are a step in the wrong direction.

Shelter said the pandemic has exacerbated the housing crisis, and there could not be a worse time to endanger the supply of affordable social homes.

Chief executive Polly Neate said: “Right to Buy has torn a hole into our social housing supply that has not been plugged. The Government has failed to replace the homes sold through Right to Buy with new social housing.

“As we look towards our post-pandemic recovery, the Government must build the new generation of social homes that people and families desperately need.”

Doncaster Council bosses were keen to stress that 407 council houses were built in the last five years and for over half of that time, DMBC were the ‘best performing’ local authority in Yorkshire for new affordable homes.

The council’s top housing officer also said that DMBC are only allowed to keep 40 per cent of money collected through Right to Buy.

Dan Swaine, director or economy and environment, said: “It’s important to point out that Right to Buy is a Government policy which the council is required to implement. It’s not determined locally and we have no power to opt out. The Government also sets the parameters for the scheme, which we are obliged to deliver.

“We are fully committed to delivering quality new council homes which meet the needs and wants of Doncaster residents.

In the next five years, our £100million Council House Build Programme will see more than 500 new council homes go up and a further 100 will be built as we aim to secure Homes England grant.

“We have already secured planning permission for 33 new council homes at three sites in Doncaster and construction is about to start.”

“Given the current economic climate and the uncertainty faced by many councils, few local authorities will be matching our investment in new council housing.”

*

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.