New policies pose a huge risk to the future of social housing

Right to Buy reforms could divert funding away from new council housing, says UNISON

Last Friday the government confirmed that money made from the sale of council homes could go towards buying schemes, instead of building new social housing.

UNISON believes that this change could divert funding away from the building of desperately needed council homes to replace those that have been sold off.

Councils need flexibility and adequate funding to build more homes at scale and pace, not a framework which will still restrict local action and is insufficient to address the decline in social housing.

UNISON assistant policy officer Sylvia Jones said: “Right to Buy capital receipts should only be used for the replacement or development of low-cost social rent homes, which are homes that are in high demand, especially during the pandemic.

“UNISON believes that council housing must be preserved as a societal resource. The government should rethink its decision to allow money raised from the sale of council homes to be used to fund homeownership schemes, which are beyond the reach of many – including public service key workers, many of whom are priced out of the housing market.”

The union has long called for a moratorium of the Right to Buy scheme and for councils to be given full flexibility and autonomy to make decisions in the interests of their communities.

Full information on the new government decision is here.