Just six homes sold in Right to Buy scheme in three months in Welwyn Hatfield

PUBLISHED: 17:24 14 August 2012

Grant Shapps  MP

Grant Shapps MP

ANDREW PARSONS /CCHQ

ONLY six homes were sold in the last quarter under the Right to Buy scheme in Welwyn Hatfield.

The sales brought in just over £500,000 for all six properties combined and the homes sold included two three-bedroom houses and four flats.

With Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps at the vanguard of a revamped Right to Buy initiative, the figures made disappointing reading in the housing minister’s own backyard.

It was with the paucity of sales in mind that Mr Shapps insisted the Government’s new Right to Buy scheme, which gives buyers a discount of up to £75,000, was a long overdue fillip in the system.

Asked about the figures for the first quarter of 2012/2013, as detailed in the latest agenda for Welwyn Hatfield Council’s cabinet housing and planning panel, Mr Shapps told the WHT: “It’s the reason why we’re bringing in the new Right to Buy with the new £75,000 discount.

“These figures are from before the new Right to Buy came into being.”

But he refused to be drawn on what impact he thought the new system would have.

He added: “It’s now in place or about to be and no-one knows what level sales will be.”

But the idea was attacked by Welwyn Hatfield Council’s Labour leader Kieran Thorpe, who is himself a council tenant.

He said: “I would not judge Right to Buy on the numbers of homes sold off because the clear aim of this policy, as it was in the ’80s, is to privatise council housing and make more of the poorest in our society pay more for a roof over their head.

“The claim is that Right to Buy is to enable aspirational families to buy their own home because these people have no other way in which to do so.

“That is simply an admission that the Government’s policy on affordable housing has utterly failed to deliver.”

He added: “I look forward to the housing minister explaining to local residents, who have spent years on waiting lists, when building will commence of the replacements of these former public assets that have been sold off.”


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