The Right to Buy directly increases the supply of affordable housing supply, according to housing minister Christopher Pincher.
Mr Pincher was speaking at a committee of MPs this week where he was pressed on the efficacy of the scheme for providing affordable housing in England.
The Right to Buy allows council tenants to purchase their homes at a discount, with councils only allowed to keep around a third of the money it receives from sales.
However, as many as 40% of homes sold under the scheme have ended up in the possession of private landlords, it was reported in December 2017, rather than boosting the amount of affordable housing in England.
Mr Pincher told the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee that the 120,000 council homes sold off “in recent years” have been replaced by 140,000 new builds.
But the minister subsequently admitted that this figure represented all affordable homes completed, rather than just council homes for social rent.
He said: “My point is that if we weren’t selling those homes to the people that wanted them, I think you would find that those homes that are built as a result of those sales would be much less likely to come forward in the speed that they have or in the numbers that they have.”
Mr Pincher stressed that Right to Buy is “increasing the housing stock”, but was unable to confirm figures showing how much Right to Buy receipts have contributed to affordable housing delivery during the period he was referring to.
Recent government data on Right to Buy sales show that for 85,645 homes sold through the policy since 2012/13, only 28,090 replacements have been started.
Future of Affordable Homes
Mr Pincher also confirmed that the government will analyse the impact of Covid-19 on affordable housing numbers, and assess what measures can be taken to ensure supply continues.
He also said: “We are going to build more affordable homes, as we have been for the last 10 years.”
Earlier this year, chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged an extra £9.5bn, totalling £12bn, for the Affordable Homes Programme from 2011-12, which will be used to build 700,000 new homes in areas of need.
However, Mr Pincher did not specify in his meeting with MPs how many homes of each tenure the government wants to see delivered through the programme.
“I don’t think it’s right to put a number on the number of homes that need to be built of one tenure or another,” he said.
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