Conservative Group Leader on Brighton & Hove City Council – Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald – has asked Government ministers to make further improvements to the popular Right to Buy scheme which would help more Council tenants to become home owners and would enable more replacement homes to be built.
At an event to publicise the Right to Buy scheme, hosted by the Prime Minister in Downing Street Cllr. Theobald put his ideas to Housing Minister, Mark Prisk.
The Coalition Government relaunched the Right to Buy in 2012 by increasing the maximum discount available to tenants from Ł38,000 to Ł75,000. In the first year of the revamped Right to Buy, 25 hard-working Brighton & Hove families were helped onto the property ladder, an 80% increase on the previous year. In the 2013 Budget the Government increased the cap on the maximum discount to Ł100,000 for people living in London. Cllr. Theobald has asked for that increase to be extended to Brighton & Hove because house prices are similar to those in many London Boroughs.
Cllr. Theobald said: “The Right to Buy has been arguably one of the most effective Government policies ever in promoting social mobility and creating mixed communities on our estates. So, I was delighted when the Government took the decision to increase Right to Buy discounts recently, a move which has already helped a further 25 families in this city realise their dream of home ownership.”
Cllr. Theobald also raised with the Housing Minister the equally important issue of investment in replacement affordable housing. At the moment, capital receipts from the Right to Buy can only cover a maximum of 30% of the cost of building a new home, in line with the grant offered through the Home & Communities Agency Affordable Homes Programme. Cllr. Theobald asked the Minister to consider increasing that investment to 50%.
Cllr. Theobald added: “I warmly welcome the Government’s commitment that all homes sold under the Right to Buy should be replaced by new affordable housing. This is particularly important in Brighton & Hove where there is a real shortage of decent affordable housing.”