Here is the text of a letter I had published in today’s Brighton Argus (18th January 2018) in response to a letter from the former Conservative councillor, Geoff Wells defending the Right to Buy.
Former mayor, Geoff Wells, says that “taking away a person’s right to buy their council home is a Marxist attitude” (16th January 2018).
I think he is wrong. The Right to Buy enables the lucky few to profiteer from the very homes society provided for them when they themselves were once in housing need.
A former council flat in London, near Covent Garden, was sold for £1.21 million, nine times the £130,000 that the seller paid in 1990 under Right to Buy legislation. This equated to a profit of over £1 million.
It created a millionaire of someone whose only contribution was once being in housing need and unable to afford to rent or buy a home.
The Right to Buy denies current and future generation the opportunity to get housed in homes they might afford. 40% of homes sold through the Right to Buy have ended up in the private rented sector.
Rents on these former council houses are four times the level charged when the council was landlord, and the tax payer ends up footing the bill for those on housing benefit. And remember, of new claims for housing benefit, over 90% come from people in low paid employment.
The Right to Buy does nothing to meet housing need, doesn’t help those in the private rented sector, and denies tax payers a proper return on our investment.
Abolishing the Right to Buy is not “Marxist”. It is just plain common sense.