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Right To Buy

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the local authorities in the South East Region which have been allowed to suspend the Right to Buy; and what criteria he used in permitting suspension in each case. [115314]

There has been no suspension of the Right to Buy in any area, but nine local authority areas in the South East Region were included in the Housing (Right to Buy) (Limits on Discount) (Amendment) Order 2003—Statutory Instrument 2003 No. 498—which came into effect on 27 March 2003. These areas were:

  • Chiltern—Epsom and Ewell—Hart
  • Oxford—Reading—Reigate and Banstead
  • Tonbridge and Mailing—Vale of White Horse—West Berkshire.
The Order lowered the maximum Right to Buy discount available to tenants from £38,000 to £16,000 in 41 areas under the greatest housing market pressure as evidenced by high levels of homelessness and high local house prices. This was determined on the basis of two measures:

homelessness—reflecting high demand for social housing. Using information provided by local authorities themselves in their regular Housing Investment Programme returns, the number of homeless households in temporary accommodation was compared with the number of local authority lettings and nominations to Registered Social Landlord dwellings given to households who were not homeless. A high value for this ratio indicates high homelessness and/or a low number of available lettings.
house prices—reflecting the demand for private housing and affordability. The Land Registry lower quartile house price for the third quarter of 2002 was used, to indicate likely availability for first time buyers.