One of the biggest transfers of wealth from the state to private individuals was highlighted yesterday in a report by my London Assembly Labour colleague Tom Copley AM.
At least 36% of homes sold through Right to Buy in London are now let by private landlords, according to research revealed in From Right to Buy to Right to Let.
How can it be fair that homes built at taxpayer expense are then sold at a substantial discount and end up lining the pockets of private landlords? Is it right that many councils are forced to rent former homes back at higher market rates in order provide much-needed housing for low-income families?
I say this is a bad deal for taxpayers and for those in need of homes. That’s why I welcome the recommendations outlined in the report:
- Mandatory covenants on all Right to Buy properties so they cannot be let through the private rented sector.
- The current system of discounts should be abolished.
- A new system should be introduced whereby local authorities retain an equity stake in any property sold.
- Local authorities should have a ‘right not to sell’ if it is not in the community interest to do so or if they believe it would harm their housing operations.
- Replacement homes built with Right to Buy receipts should be like-for-like: mirroring the rent, size and tenure specifications of the home sold