Issue - meetings
Welsh Government consultation on the future of the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire
- Enc. 1 for Welsh Government consultation on the future of the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire, item 66 PDF 233 KB
(a) That the Welsh Government consultation currently open concerning the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire, be noted; and
(b) That Flintshire County Council respond positively to the consultation and support early implementation of the reduction to the discount, followed by the ending of the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire.
The Chief Officer (Community & Enterprise) presented a report on the Welsh Government (WG) consultation on the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire and sought the Committee’s views on the proposed response, following recent consideration by Cabinet. It was anticipated that a separate response would be submitted by the Tenants’ Federation within the deadline of 16 April 2015.
The Chief Officer provided background information and summarised the main considerations as set out in the report. She referred to previous debate by the Committee on this matter and concerns over the long-term investment in new Council homes under the current legislation. The two proposals within the WG consultation document were:
i) To reduce the maximum discount from £16,000 to £8,000 on the market value of the property, as a short/medium term measure to reduce sales.
ii) To develop new primary legislation to suspend the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire for all social housing tenants across Wales.
There was currently provision for Councils to apply to WG to suspend Right to Buy in specific areas for an initial five years, supported by an appropriate business case. It was indicated that the Council aimed to do this, due to its plans to build 200 new Council houses over the next five years.
Councillor Hilary Isherwood said that if the legislation were to continue, then the price of properties sold under Right to Buy should be ringfenced to build new homes. She went on to refer to planning policy and the need for developers to provide affordable homes that were genuinely affordable to those in need, such as single people.
The Chief Officer advised that for the 33 properties sold under Right to Buy over the past five years, the Council had generated a capital receipt of £549,325 representing the 25% it was permitted to retain. This amount was ringfenced in the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) for reinvestment in stock improvement. With the introduction of self-financing, 100% of the market value of the sold property would be kept by the Council. However, even if the maximum discount was reduced (as per the WG proposal), it would not be possible for sold properties to generate enough income for a like-for-like replacement new build, due to the variance between the value of existing stock and new build cost.
On affordable housing, the Chief Officer referred to provision for this in planning policy on new sites. She went on to refer to the role of North East Wales (NEW) Homes in improving access to affordable housing where opportunities were limited, for example by offering more flexibility to individuals whose incomes were low but could not qualify for social housing.
When asked by Councillor George Hardcastle about plans to develop 500 new homes over five years, the Chief Officer advised that these would comprise 200 Council and 300 affordable homes. The report on the Strategic Housing and Regeneration Programme (SHARP) recently considered by Cabinet had included details of a wide range of sites across the ... view the full minutes text for item 66