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Council housing: Should Right-to-Buy be scrapped?

Justin Rowlatt - | 14:47 UK time, Tuesday, 25 November 2008

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I'm a home owner and wouldn't want to deny anyone the pleasure or the sense of security you get from owning your own home but I've been pondering that question after exploring the effects of the Right to Buy policy for the One Show.

The statistics are pretty stark. In the last eight years twice as many affordable homes have been sold off than have been built. 

It is pretty clear what that means. The National Housing Federation, which represents not for profit housing associations, produced the figures and says they show the stock of affordable homes has fallen by 300,000.

And there is no shortage of demand for council or housing association homes.  The number of families on waiting lists has grown by 61% - almost 600,000 people - over the same eight year period.

The credit crunch is predicted to lead to a wave of repossessions and rising unemployment which is only going to make the shortage worse, pushing up the numbers on waiting lists.

Yesterday the Government said it would bring forward millions of pounds of spending on social housing.  The worry is that the credit crunch means housing associations won't be able to borrow the private funds they need to make new housing developments happen.

This leaves us with a growing problem - longer waiting lists but fewer homes.

So should Right to Buy die? Or can you think of a better solution? Add your comment below.

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