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CIH calls on government to abandon right-to-buy

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The Chartered Institute for Housing has called on the government to suspend the right-to-buy scheme.

CIH chief executive Terrie Alafat said the government must “urgently look at the balance of its overall housing investment” while announcing the organisation’s change in policy at the Housing 2018 conference in Manchester, which starts today.

Ms Alafat said: “If we are supporting people to own their own home, it cannot be at the expense of everyone else. In reality, the abiding legacy of the right-to-buy is that we have lost hundreds of thousands of our most affordable homes. It’s simple - we need to find new ways to help tenants into home ownership, because this is clearly not the way to do it.”

CIH analysis found that just 21% of the £53bn of government funding for housing up to 2021 has been apportioned to affordable housing.

In first announcing that “affordable housing has become anything but affordable”, Ms Alafat told the conference “the only truly affordable homes for many are those offered at social rent”.

She added: “It is extremely worrying then, that not only are we not building enough of these properties, we are losing them - haemorrhaging them in fact - at the time we need them most.”

The CIH reported in January that social housing providers had ‘lost’ 150,000 social rented homes in the past five years, with another 80,000 homes projected to be sold off by 2020 due to the right-to-buy and other factors.

“We know that if the government does not commit to building more of the right homes, in the right places, at the right prices, our housing crisis will continue to worsen and the prospect of our young people getting access to a home they can afford will be bleak,” said Ms Alafat.

The CIH report, ‘Rethinking social housing’, found via an Ipsos Mori survey that 60% of respondents would support social housing construction in their local area while 86% of respondents said they would choose to buy a house “given a free choice”.

“The message we got from our research was loud and clear – social housing has a unique and positive role to play and it is highly valued,” Ms Alafat said. 

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