Abolish and Replace RTB

Abolishing RTB is an important step in ensuring that current social housing stocks are maintained. Howevever, an alternative should be sought for people who would like to one day purchase a home. The WG could for instance offer a 'top-up rent' option whereby tenants could opt to pay more rent up to market rate, with the difference put into a help to buy-style savings account (possibly in collaboration with credit unions). This would let people save for a deposit without depleting social housing stock. But this must be accompanied by an expansion in social housing including council-owned houses. Increasing the funds available for buying long-term vacant properties and granting councils the ability to buy properties on the open market is one quick way to do this. Another way is to mandate that all new housing estate developments must include space for social housing to be built alongside the obligation to provide affordable housing. This would not require developers to build the houses so would not impose additional costs.


If RTB is abolished all tenants should be given 12 months' notice and the chance to buy, including in areas where RTB is currently suspended. The WG should communicate this themselves using a register of council owned properties to ensure that tenants know their rights.

Why the contribution is important

Because abolishing RTB doesn't immediately fix social housing, and doesn't by itself offer council tenants the chance of home ownership. It is a necessary idea but not by itself sufficient.

by jlprice on May 19, 2017 at 09:53AM

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  • Posted by SimFord May 28, 2017 at 20:57

    In my recollection, the Right to Buy scheme was introduced as a way to allow Council tenants to take ownership of older-stock Council houses at a discounted rate, the profits of which would be ploughed back into the generation of new-stock Council housing.

    This has not happened: the sales have gone ahead (to achieve a political goal); the plough-back into new housing stock has been blocked (to achieve a political goal). The result: fewer Council houses available, and very few new council homes being built.

    I would welcome a review of the Right to Buy policy for the following reasons:

    - the view of the UK Government in support of home ownership is contrary to the norm within the EU;
    - the view of the UK Government to force the sale of homes to pay for social care mitigates against such ownership;
    - in general, ownership of land or property tends to favour the already rich at the expense of most of society;
    - 'social housing' is not a blot on the landscape and can easily be included within new developments to encourage integration on the one hand, and acceptance of integration on the other.
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