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Brighton MP calls for cheaper Right to Buy
Council tenants should be given greater discounts to buy their homes, according to a Brighton MP.
Since discounts of up to £75,000 to help people buy their own property were introduced last year, applications in Brighton and Hove have increased four-fold.
Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby has now asked communities secretary Eric Pickles to increase the amount of funding available for families in the city because of high house prices.
But the calls are likely to prove unpopular with Brighton and Hove City Council who describe themselves as “fundamentally opposed” to Right to Buy while housing charity bosses labelled the scheme illogical on a financial, housing and moral basis.
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The new Right to Buy scheme launched in April last year.
In eight months, the number of applicants increased four-fold – from 28 between April and December 2011 to 114 between April and December last year.
In addition, there were 55 sales between April 2012 and August 2013.
This year the Government increased the cap on the maximum discount to £100,000 for people living in London, to reflect the higher house prices in the capital.
Mr Kirby called for the government to extend these privileges to Brighton and Hove.
He said: “An increase in the maximum discount would help even more families in Brighton and Hove to get onto the housing ladder which is something we would all welcome.”
But council leader Jason Kitcat said: “Right to Buy simply takes properties from families on low incomes, without guaranteeing they can be replaced.
“In Brighton and Hove, 20% of former council homes built for those on low incomes are now owned by landlords renting them out privately at full rental rates.
“It’s madness to suggest that more housing should be given away when we have limited space in the city and many people on the housing waiting.”
Andy Winter, chief executive of Brighton Housing Trust, said the Government had failed to meet its promise to replace each council home with a new build and welcomed proposals from the Scottish government to scrap the scheme.
He added: “Scrapping the Right to Buy will not resolve the housing problem; it will just slow down the worsening rate of the housing crisis.
“I just cannot understand the logic behind Right to Buy, from a financial, housing or moral basis.”
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