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MP attacks ‘empty promise’ on replacements
SCORES of badly-needed rented homes are being “lost” across Southampton as Margaret Thatcher’s ‘Right-to-Buy’ scheme is reborn, new figures suggest.
A total of 83 city council tenants have bought their homes since discounts were hiked to a maximum of £75,000, in April last year.
But – contrary to ministers’ promises to replace them – not a single start has been made on a fresh property anywhere in the city, the Daily Echo can reveal.
David Cameron vowed that Right-to-Buy (RTB) receipts would be recycled to build new homes, to avoid a repeat of a widely-accepted weakness of the 1980s policy.
But it has now emerged that promise applies only to England as a whole – rather than being a pledge to replace homes in any particular town or city.
Only “up to 30 per cent” of the cost of replacement homes will be funded from the cash generated from sales, officials have admitted Mr Whitehead said: “I don’t think these homes will be replaced – it’s an empty promise.
“The amounts that councils are getting in receipts isn’t remotely sufficient – after the discounts – to enable them to replace the houses that are lost.
“As far as I can see, the Government is simply rolling up everything that’s being built in the rented sector and claiming they’re Right-to-Buy replacements.”
The failure to start a single replacement home in Southampton is revealed in statistics released by the department for communities and local government (DCLG). Meanwhile, sales accelerated to 25 in the last quarter of 2012-13, with a further 20 in the first three months of this financial year.
And he said: “Some of the cash from the sale of the 83 properties may go towards these schemes.
“The council is hopeful that the RTB receipts will be adequate to replace all the social housing acquired under RTB.”
Across the country, more than 10,000 people bought their homes from councils or housing associations over 15 months – but only 1,250 ‘starts’ have begun.
Mr Cameron hailed the figures, saying: “The success of Right-to-Buy shows how the new, reinvigorated scheme is opening up the prospect of home ownership to even more people across the country.”
A DCLG spokesman said: “Local authorities have up to three years to deliver replacement builds.
“Every additional home sold under Right-to-Buy will be replaced by a new home for affordable rent nationally, with receipts from sales recycled towards the cost of replacements.”
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