Right to Buy revamp could fund deposit scheme

Published: 2 October 2011

MONEY raised from Right to Buy sales is set to be used by Wandsworth Council to help first time buyers into home ownership... by giving them a deposit of up to £50,000.

Wandsworth today welcomed the Prime Minister's plans to revitalise the scheme by boosting the level of discount but wants to use the money raised to help non council tenants buy a home as well.

The Council has been actively lobbying for the scheme to be refreshed after seeing a slump in Right to Buy sales from 274 in 2003 to just 7 last year. This follows the decision of the previous Government to reduce the Right to Buy discount from £38,000 to £16,000 in most areas.

Wandsworth wants the ability to set the level of discount and the freedom to use receipts to create a 'deposit pool' to help others into home ownership. Under the scheme a deposit of up to £50,000 would be offered to first time buyers with money being repaid into the pool once the property is eventually sold. The Council also wants to see private developers contribute to the pool.

Wandsworth is also calling for council tenants to be able to use their Right to Buy discount to buy privately, thus freeing up social housing.

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said: "The Government's announcement is an important step towards helping a new generation of people into home ownership.

"Just as Right to Buy inspired an estimated two million people buy their home we need new ideas so that their children can grasp the same opportunities. First time buyers can no longer rely on the 'Bank of Mum and Dad'."

Plans to set up the scheme and lobby Government were discussed at Wandsworth's Finance and Corporate Resources Overview Scrutiny Committee agreed on June 23rd.

Notes to editor

  • Wandsworth's dedicated Home Ownership Team has been pro-actively promoting home ownership opportunities in the Borough since 1978 (over 30+ years) and since that time has assisted over 26,000 people to take their first steps into home ownership
  • The deposit scheme would be interest-free for a period of five years
  • The average house price in Wandsworth in 2009 was £356,000 compared with £260,000 in 2004
  • Wandsworth has 3,500 people registered for home ownership, 75 per cent of those registered have savings of £10,000 or below