Many local authorities do not feel able to replace every home sold under the Right to Buy scheme, a new survey has revealed.

According to a study by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) and the Local Government Association (LGA), 73 per cent of councils believe the current system lets them replace 50 per cent of the properties they have sold at most.

Meanwhile, 12 per cent feel the existing procedures do not allow them to replace any homes at all.

The organisations behind the survey are therefore calling for the next government to give local authorities more flexibility, so they can combine the receipts with other sources of funding and land to create replacement homes.

Gavin Smart, interim chief executive of the CIH, said councils could be replacing far more properties if "complex funding arrangements on the current Right to Buy scheme were changed".

He insisted that if action is taken straight away, policymakers will be able to ensure that "more social and affordable housing won't be lost", which he said is "vital" for those on low incomes.

Councillor David Sparks, chair of the LGA, added that Right to Buy has helped millions of people get on the property ladder since its inception.

However, he said there are "many more who remain in housing need". As a result, he believes it is crucial" that every home sold is replaced and pointed out that just "a few simple reforms would give councils a real fighting chance of achieving this".

Mr Sparks said allowing councils to keep 100 per cent of the receipts from Right to Buy directly would be a "common sense answer" to the ongoing housing crisis and give them more flexibility "over the level of discount and how they use them to replace the homes sold".