It’s been confirmed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to announce plans to extend the Right To Buy to housing associations.
Under the existing Right To Buy policy in England - it’s been abolished completely in Scotland and Wales - tenants living in council houses can get a discount of up to 70 per cent of the market price, depending on how long they have lived there. The maximum discount is £87,200, or £116,200 in London.
There is already a significantly less generous scheme for renters of housing association properties, with discounts of up to £16,000, but it is thought that Johnson wants to significantly increase the discounts offered to this type of tenant.
Former Conservative leader David Cameron, when he was Prime Minister, spent £200m on a pilot project to look at extending Right To Buy to the housing association sector. However the pilot - conducted with the National Housing Federation - found that homes were not replaced as quickly as they were sold off, and the new properties that were built tended to be smaller than the ones they replaced.
An NHF spokesperson has told the Financial Times: “Our agreement with the government at that time was based on a clear set of principles, our red line being that every single social home sold would be replaced. Recent pilots demonstrated how difficult this is to achieve, as there is not enough money from sales to build new social homes. Since this agreement was made the housing crisis has worsened. Our recent research shows that 4.2m people are in need of social housing in England today.”
Some 1.6m council homes have been sold off under Right To Buy, first introduced by then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the early 1980s.
While this policy helped owner-occupation rise from 55 per cent in 1979 to 72 per cent in 2004 (since when it has generally dipped) the policy has also been blamed for a sharp decline in social housing availability. Scotland and Wales have scrapped Right To Buy in recent years
Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.