Right to Buy leaves a housing shortage

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MORE Wiganers are buying their council homes, leaving a shortage of stock for people on the waiting list across the borough.

New figures reveal that the Metro has seen a surge in the numbers of aspiring homeowners taking up the right to buy their council home.

Wigan Council has sold 53 homes since the Right to Buy scheme was launched in April 2012, compared to 28 in the whole of 2011/12.

But whilst the scheme is beneficial to tenants, offering them discounts of up to £75,000 off the value of their home, bosses at the council say it does reduce affordable homes for tenants on the waiting list.

Peter Layland, Wigan Council’s head of housing, said: “The council is pleased some of our longstanding tenants are happy where they live, have confidence in their local communities and are investing in buying their homes out right.

“However, the Right to Buy programme does inevitably diminish the supply of affordable social housing in the borough at a time when there is high demand for exactly such housing.

“While plans are in place to build new homes, any loss of such housing, through schemes such as this, is a matter of concern to the council.”

In the North West, there were 161 sales in the nine months between April and December 2012, compared to 110 in the whole of 2011/12.

Housing Minister Mark Prisk said that these figures only accounted for sales of council-owned properties, and on top of this eligible housing association tenants can also exercise their preserved Right to Buy.

Mr Prisk said: “The reinvigorated Right to Buy has opened the door to home ownership for thousands of tenants across the country and I’m delighted to see so many taking up this opportunity.

“I know there are many more that want to follow in their footsteps.

“I would urge any tenant aspiring to buy their home to contact their council or visit www.communities.gov.uk/righttobuy.”