Right to buy ‘not popular’, councillor claims

By Kaye Wiggins

Just 37 households in Lambeth will buy their home from the council using the government’s “right to buy” scheme this year, a councillor has claimed.

The government has introduced a £100,000 discount for people who live in social housing and want to buy their property, in a bid to reinvigorate the right to buy policy that was started under Margaret Thatcher during the 1980s.

But Labour councillor Pete Robbins said at a council meeting last week that just 37 households were set to use the scheme this year, representing 0.1% of the housing in the borough.

“It’s not exactly the hugely popular policy that Tories thought it would be,” he said.

He said the government’s discount would “help the few, not the many” because it did not allow councils to borrow enough money to build new social housing to replace the properties that were sold.

However, Conservative councillor John Whelan said demand for the scheme was high, but was being held up by delays in the system.

He praised the “continuing success” of right to buy, saying that during the 1980s “two million people bought their homes, changing Britain and our housing estates in Lambeth for the better.”