Greenwich council lost as many homes through right-to-buy in ONE QUARTER as total built since 2011

Figures reveal that Greenwich borough’s social housing stock was reduced by 140 from July to September 2018 – which is the exact same number of council homes built since 2011.

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Right to Buy purchases in Q2 jumped to 140 from 48 in Q1 meaning in just half a year the total stock lost exceeded all homes built over the previous seven years.

The loss of council homes has been at huge cost to taxpayers and tenants as ever more people are forced into private rentals or temporary accommodation. The housing benefit (or Local Housing Allowance) bill is now £25 billion a year. Housing policy is costing almost everyone dearly.

Homeless households increased from 740 to 909 over the same period.

Many former council homes bought under Right to Buy are now buy-to-let private flats at double or triple rent levels.

Right to Buy

Right to Buy was introduced under Thatcher’s government in the 1980s. Under New Labour it was restricted but not abolished and has since been expanded under the coalition in 2011 with greater discounts and easier eligibility reducing the number of council homes ever more. It’s since been banned in Wales and Scotland.


Though Right to Buy is now a very flawed national policy without large injections of funds for social homes alongside, in Greenwich borough right to buy income has not always been wisely spent.

The target of like-for-like replacement from central Government was always very unlikely to be met but Greenwich have still chosen the least efficient method of adding stock according to their own analysis.

Authorities have three years to spend or income is sent to central Government. As the new policy started in 2011/12, by 2016/17 the five years was coming up yet a lack of foresight meant Greenwich still had much unspent. They opted to buy homes off the market at high cost (average £400k per extra unit) rather than partner with a Housing Association or use their own off-shoot developer Meridian Homes.

Central Government does not make it easy as simply building outright using right-to-buy funds is banned. Only 30% of any scheme can use Right to Buy income. But could 30% have gone to Meridian Home Start schemes and 70% funded by other sources? It would have provided far more units to combat homelessness and saved taxpayers through lower Housing Benefit payments to private landlords.



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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

5 thoughts on “Greenwich council lost as many homes through right-to-buy in ONE QUARTER as total built since 2011

  • The lack of homes is also due to the fact that too many people gets a home for free at expense of tax payers and of the people that actually need it most.

    there is an abuse of the benefits systems. There is too much people that rather than getting a job (and in london if you want you can get a job-no excuses) plays the system.

    In parallel there is lots of People that makes the effort to go and get a job, try to give good manners and education to their children ..and this is the people that needs assistance too and deserve affordable homes.

    Lets not be surpised if woolwich is struggling to shine inspite of the royal arsenal development that had attracted new professionals etc..

    There is still too high concentration of social housing , too much anti social behaviour, too many people that doesn’t give a damn shit about the good manners, they take all for granted and they dump anything in the streets.

    And are we surprised that starbucks and other high street retailers are leaving ? The problem is the people

    The other day i saw a mum that changed the pampers of the baby in the car parked along the street and dumped the 2 dirty pampers on the pavement when she had a litter bin 5 metres away. Unfortunately I was too far away to tell her off .

  • I agree with with you 100% A better Greenwich. There are a lot of people that will not help themselves and rely on state handouts although they are fit and able to work with no health concerns disabilities or childcare issues.

    We also have a very high rate of immigration in the Greenwich Borough that has seen the population grow tenfold over the years which has seen an increase in the wait for social housing. We also have a high rate of anti social behaviour. in the area which is not being dealt with and allowed to continue, The Borough has seen an increase in people suffering from alcohol abuse and drug addiction and a rise in crime sadly this is set to continue. if action not taken now.

    Good manners seem to have become a thing of the past for many people. Even when your polite to them they are very rude back to you. You get pushed and shoved at bus stops with no respect for others..

    The problems you mentioned with rubbish dump on the streets and outside blocks of flats and homes where bins are provided is why we are seeing an increase rats in the Borough.

    It is heart breaking to witness what is happening in our great Borough of Greenwich. Whatever did happen to good manners. When people were polite to each other and respected each other.

  • Abuses on social housing, benefit system and The NHS are never the news. These people tend to be more glamorous and have more spending power than most of us who are bothered to get up and go to work everyday.

    I have used to known someone who was on income support and was offered a social house in a prestigious area. She couldn’t work due to her weight and was offered a weight lost surgery under the NHS so that she could be healthier again. After the recovery of the surgery, nothings changed, diet was never changed and still not motivated to find a job. These people never contribute into the tax system yet costing taxpayers like you and me so much! The person is an example of many others!!

    I’ve known someone who was moved by Orpington to Maidstone due to shortage of social housing. Why couldn’t Greenwich council do the same?

    Social housing should be reserved for people who contribute into the tax system AS WELL.

  • @Peter J and Lenny Scott. Thanks for your input which complete the picture.

    There is not need of more social housing. There is need of a reform of the exisiting social housing. And people that do not deserve the help should be kicked out or moved elsewhere outside london or their should go back to their original countries. And just to be clear when i say their should be back to their original countries i am not referring to the immigrants that comes in uk to work, and these really work hard and in my view deserves more rights of many british families that for generations have been living on just on benefits playing the system.

    London is an expensive city to live in and it is a city for workers not for parassites which all they do is to make it worst for tax payers financially and also enviromentally

    When you look at council estates and you see the expensive SUVs parked there you wonder…and that just the tip of the iceberg

    Our politicians see them as voters and they don’t want to reform because they fear they would lose votes. And we pay for it.

  • Let’s all work together to make Greenwich Borough the great Borough it once was.A Borough in which we can be proud to live work and visit. Like it used to be many years ago. This can be achieved by tacking many of the issues raised in previous post.


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