Wandsworth Council has welcomed the boost to Right to Buy – but wants to use the money raised to help non council tenants buy a home as well. Right to Buy sales in the borough fell from 274 in 2003 to just seven last year due to the Labour Government's attack on home ownership by capping the discount to £16,000-£38,000.
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.
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.
Cllr Ravi Govindia, the 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 to 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.