Social housing

Right-to-buy will make the dire social housing market worse

By: Matthew Applegate, Chief Executive, Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust
Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 12:19 GMT Jump to Comments

Britain has a critical shortage of social housing.

Aylesbury Housing Trust provide social housing at affordable rents, to those in housing need. Our residents come from all walks of life: young families who can’t afford private rents, single people wanting their independence, and older people who want to move into more secure or supported accommodation.

If the homes that we have are sold off, who will help those families and individuals who are desperately in housing need? How many of you reading this will at some point in your life know of someone who needs a decent home to live in? 

Community benefit

Housing Associations are legally constituted as ‘community benefit organisations’ and in many cases are registered charities.

They exist to provide benefit to the community and hold their homes in trust for the community. Housing associations are a huge force for good and carry out their activities because of the social benefit that results.

Available – but not affordable?

Forcing housing associations to sell their homes will have a one off benefit for the resident who can buy it at a huge discount, but then it will be lost to those in housing need forever.

When it is next available it will be at market value, whether that be for rent or sale, and only those who can afford to will be able to secure it.

Our experience of Right to Buy is that the properties that are lost are those that are in greatest demand by individuals and families in housing need – usually those that are largest or those in more rural areas.

These are the types of properties that people in Aylesbury Vale most struggle to afford, so where will future generations live when these are gone?

I receive many moving letters from families and individuals in dire need of affordable housing. The population is 20% bigger now than it was in 1979 (before the advent of Right to Buy) and yet we now have 1.5 million fewer social homes.

At a time when property prices – rent, repairs and mortgage costs – have never been higher, we should be increasing the numbers of affordable housing not drastically reducing them. The extension of Right to Buy will only make a dire situation even worse.


Matthew Applegate
Chief Executive, Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Information Daily, its parent company or any associated businesses.

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