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Councils 'spending millions' buying back Right To Buy properties

An investigation by the BBC has revealed that councils are spending million buying back homes they sold at a discount under Right To Buy legislation.

Using Freedom of Information requests the BBC has discovered that Islington council has spent more than £6.2m buying back homes it sold for less than £1.3m.

One property in Islington was sold to a tenant for £17,600 in 2004 at a discount of £26,400, and was bought back by the authority for £176,750 some 11 years later.


Right To Buy was introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives in the 1980s, allowing council house tenants to buy their homes at a discount.

In its analysis, BBC News looked at local authority areas where waiting lists rose for four consecutive years since 2011 and chose 10 at random.

The corporation discovered that Islington has in the past two years re-purchased 25 homes sold between 1989 and 2005, while Wakefield council spent more than £2.5m on 35 homes it sold for more than £981,000.

The London borough of Camden bought back 29 homes for more than £2.5m, 11 of which had been sold originally for about £335,000.

Cornwall spent nearly £438,000 on four properties it originally built and sold, while Oldham spent £60,000 on two flats it sold for £27,260 but also spent £100,000 refurbishing them for re-use as council homes.

The BBC investigation also says that Birmingham council agreed in its budget to buy back Right To Buy homes when they became available - up to 200 in total.


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