Crawley Borough Council is supporting the Government’s initiative to help council tenants take the opportunity to buy their home.
The Community Secretary Eric Pickles has announced that the maximum discount tenants can have off their council hous - currently £75,000 - will start increasing in line with the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation later this year. It aims to enable more people to afford to buy their own home in future.
Crawley Borough Council tenants bought 21 properties between April 1 2010 and March 31 2011, 22 in the same period in 2011/12.
When the maximum discount for a home was increased in April 2012 the number sold jumped to 72 for 2012/13 and 70 have been sold in the current financial year to date.
There are currently 93 applications and the council can put 30 per cent of the receipts towards building new homes.
Cllr Richard Burrett, cabinet member for housing, said: “We welcome the changes the Government is making to assist tenants both to buy their homes and to move house, and also the council’s increased ability to retain receipts from council house sales to assist with building new homes, as we can now keep a greater proportion of Right To Buy receipts to use locally as a result of the agreement we entered into with the Government in 2012.
“We are planning to spend this extra money on new social housing and/or improvements to our current housing stock, so that current and future Council tenants will benefit from Right To Buy sales too. The council has plans to build new homes for social rent with one scheme currently on site and two more at the planning stage with the expectation of starting to build on site later this year.”
Cllr Stephen Joyce, Labour’s shadow portfolio holder for housing felt the Right to Buy scheme had its disadvantages.
He said: “For those who can afford to buy it can be a good thing, but it is of no help at all to the thousands of people on the housing waiting list. In fact it will extend the waiting time dramatically, if we are losing our stock at the rate of up to 100 homes a year.
“For every property you sell, the Government say you have to replace it. But the figures don’t stack up because the Government don’t allow you to use all the capital receipts on building new council homes.”