Right to Buy scheme set to give first-time buyers deposits

Local authorities across the UK have welcomed the Government announcement to revitalise the Right to Buy scheme by boosting the level of discount.

Money raised from the “Right to Buy” sales of council houses is set to be used by Wandsworth Council to help first-time buyers into private home ownership by giving them a deposit of up to £50,000. It is hoped that other local authorities with long waiting lists for housing will follow suit.

The Conservative led local authority have said they would put money from Right to Buy sales into a pot, from which it would pay first-time buyers – who need not be council tenants – a deposit.

The deposits would be repaid into the pot when eventually sold, and the local authority has also suggested that private developers could contribute to the fund.

Although David Cameron and housing minister Grant Shapps have said they expect one new affordable home to be built for every council house sold under the scheme, Wandsworth made clear that it also wants to use the money raised to help non-council tenants buy a home.

The council has been actively lobbying for Right to Buy to be re-invigorated after seeing a slump in sales from 274 in 2003 to only 7 last year, following the previous Labour Government’s reduction of Right to Buy discounts from £38,000 to £16,000 in most areas.

Wandsworth council wants the ability to set the level of discount itself, and is also calling for council tenants to be able to use their Right to Buy discount to buy privately, thus freeing up social housing.

Leader of Wandsworth council Cllr Ravi Govindia, , said: “The Government’s announcement is an important step towards helping a new generation of people into home ownership. Just as Right to Buy inspired an estimated two million people to buy their home, we need new ideas so that their children can grasp the same opportunities. First-time buyers can no longer rely on the Bank of Mum and Dad.”

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