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ARCH annual report


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Right to Buy and one-for-one replacement Matthew Warburton - 23/04/2012

RTB300Last Friday (20 April) was the deadline for comments on a DCLG consultation paper on the use of Right to Buy receipts issued barely two weeks earlier, on the day before the Easter weekend. 


Despite the brevity of the consultation period, some important issues were involved.  The subject of consultation was the draft agreement councils would be expected to sign if they want to retain Right to Buy receipts to invest in new local housing, rather than returning receipts to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) for national distribution. 


The most worrying part of the draft was the requirement that retained receipts be used within two years, while constituting no more than 30 per cent of the spend during that period on the scheme which they were used to fund.  Schemes would not have to be finished within two years, but if they took longer, councils might only be able to use receipts to finance a much smaller percentage of costs.


This timescale is unreasonably, and unnecessarily, tight, particularly for councils contemplating new development for the first time in many years. If the agreement went ahead as proposed, it would prevent many councils from making best use of the receipts to provide homes that are most needed and represent best value for money, and force them, reluctantly, to return their receipts to the HCA. 


ARCH has joined with other consultees, including CIH and the Local Government Association, in calling for amendments to the draft agreement, including an extension of the re-use period to at least three years.


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