Islington has become the first London borough to receive funding for a scheme to buy back council homes from private ownership. The homes will be offered to Afghan refugees who have fled persecution by the Taliban.

The right to buy-back scheme was launched by London Mayor, Sadiq Khan earlier this year. It offers funds to boroughs so they can purchase former council homes. These properties, now in private ownership having been bought through the right to buy programme, are then offered to people on council waiting lists.

Islington Council will bring 80 homes, currently for sale on the open market, back into borough ownership. The properties include 20 family-sized homes and are expected to be purchased in the near future.

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The mayor has urged the government to use the right to buy-back scheme as a template for national efforts to boost social housing.

He said: “I am delighted that Islington councillors have taken this swift, bold action to change the lives of Afghan refugees seeking sanctuary in their borough. The crisis in Afghanistan was devastating to watch and left many of us questioning what we could do to help. To see our city providing a home for those who have been dispossessed, giving security and safety to those who have lost so much, makes me proud to be a Londoner.”

He is also expanding language tuition for Afghans settling in London, through his adult education budget, in an effort to help the refugees re-build their lives.

“Resettlement goes beyond just housing,” he said, “and I stand ready to work with government to ensure London boroughs and community organisations have the support necessary to help Afghan arrivals establish a long-term future in our open and welcoming city.”

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