Cllr Douglas Johnson
Cllr Douglas Johnson

Green Councillors have spoken out against the sale of council housing at Sheffield Full Council.

The Liberal Democrats on Sheffield City Council submitted a motion titled “Protecting our Social Housing stock” for debate but rejected a Green call to abolish the right to buy

Councillor Douglas Johnson said,

“What was frustrating reading the Liberal Democrat motion was that they correctly identified the problem but stopped short of providing a solution, which is to abolish the Right to Buy council houses.

“The evidence that we need to protect council housing and abolish the Right to Buy is overwhelming. 4 out of 10 young people are unable to afford the cheapest home in their area (1). Private rented housing is becoming harder to find and 34% of private tenants are regarded as living in poverty and trapped in poor quality housing (2). Only 5% of private rented properties are regarded as affordable for housing benefit recipients.(3)

“Over 22,000 people are on Sheffield City Council’s housing register and the council is losing hundreds of council houses to Right to Buy every year. The demand is increasing while the supply is diminishing.

“If the Right to Buy policy is to promote home ownership, we know that over 40% of council houses end up as private rented properties. (4) So the policy is failing even on its own terms.

“The Lib Dems say in their motion that the Council should retain 100% of the Right to Buy income from the sale of council housing, but the price the home is sold for is highly discounted anyway, based on how long the tenant has lived there and will never be enough to build an equivalent council house. The Lib Dems also say that the council should have the power to set the discount on the price to a tenant buying a council house, but why sell it at all? It makes more sense to just abolish the Right to Buy and stop losing valuable council housing”.

It was disappointing that neither the Labour nor LibDem group support our calls to abolish the Right to Buy,”


1 – Institute of Fiscal Studies report into barriers to home ownership.

2 – Institute of Fiscal Studies Report into Housing Quality and Affordability for low income households.

Housing quality and affordability for lower-income households | Institute for Fiscal Studies (

3 – Nationwide Foundation – Vulnerability in the Private Sector

Vulnerability in the Private Rented Sector in England (

4. House of Lords Library report into the Right to Buy