Coronavirus: Social homes may go unbuilt without Right to Buy extension

Desperately-needed new social homes could go unbuilt unless councils are granted an extension to the time they are allowed to spend money from Right to Buy sales, the Local Government Association warns today.

Currently, councils are allowed to retain receipts from Right to Buy sales for three years to invest in replacement housing, before they have to return them to the Government if they are unspent.

With the building of new homes delayed or stopped altogether by the coronavirus crisis, many councils are concerned that they will not have the opportunity to spend the RTB cash on replacing much-needed homes sold under the scheme.

The LGA, which represents councils in England, says councils need to be given at least five years to spend RTB receipts to avoid the coronavirus crisis exacerbating the current shortage of social housing.

Cllr David Renard, the LGA’s housing spokesman, said:

“The coronavirus crisis has understandably brought many developments and the creation of new homes to a standstill and is holding back councils from building and replacing much-needed social housing.

“Money generated through Right to Buy sales is vital in enabling councils to replace sold homes.

“Councils need more time to spend this money. This is critical if we are to get building again once the coronavirus pandemic passes and we begin the national recovery.”