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Graham Awards


Labour’s Rayner defends buying her council house at a discount

Labour deputy leader and shadow housing secretary Angela Rayner says she is not ashamed to have brought her council house at a discounted rate.

The revelation is made in a new biography of Rayner, written by Conservative Lord Ashcroft and reported in the Daily Mail.

Rayner bought the property in 2007 under the Right To Buy scheme: she has pledged to reassess the future of the scheme if her party wins power at the next election.


The Mail claims she made a £48,500 profit when she sold her ex-council house in Stockport in 2015 despite having criticised recent Tory administrations for giving some tenants "loads and loads of discount".

Over the weekend Rayner rejected any criticism of her decision by tweeting: “It’s clear that Lord Ashcroft and his friends not only take an unhealthy interest in my family - but want to kick down at people like me who graft hard in tough circumstances to get on in life. I won’t let them.

“We’ve said we’ll review the unfair additional market discounts of up to 60% the Tories introduced in 2012, long after I was able to exercise the right to buy (25%) under the old system. That’s not hypocrisy, it’s the right thing to do.

“But the problem with the right to buy was never ordinary people’s dreams of owning their own home - it was that council housing stock was sold off and then not replaced. It’s helped fuel the housing crisis.

“Labour believes those who live in a council house should have the opportunity to own their own home. Working people should be able to buy the social home they rented for a reasonable discount.

“Being able to buy my council house back in 2007 was a proud moment for me. I worked hard, saved and bought it by the book. I’m not ashamed - but I am angry that the Tories have since put the dream of a secure home out of reach for so many others.”

Right To Buy was introduced by Margaret Thatcher through the Housing Act 1980 and allows council tenants to buy homes at large discounts.

Councils which lose RTB properties from their housing stock can keep only a third of the receipts from each sale to build a replacement home, and are prevented from borrowing to make up the shortfall.

Right To Buy has been scrapped in Wales and Scotland but Labour says it will keep it in England, should it win this year’s election.

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    RTB discounts have changed many times over the years and there have been restrictions on exactly how much discount can be given on newer properties. When I wanted to buy my Council house I couldn't get a discount on the one I was living in as it was only a year old and the Council wasn't allowed to sell it for less than it had cost them to build it. That seemed fair enough so I exchanged it for one that I could get a discount on. That one had been seriously neglected by the Council and needed full renovation (which actually cost slightly more than the discount). The bit a great many people have never understood is that a lot of RTB properties were in desperate need of renovation after years of neglect by the Councils. They weren't nice, well maintained properties.

    The original RTB allowed Councils to offload some maintenance nightmares, raise some cash to use to maintain their remaining stock and allowed practical, aspirational people to become homeowners.

    At times the level of discount has been bizarre but that's been down to government policy. The thing I find especially ludicrous is the insanely low rent Councils charge. No wonder so many are facing bankruptcy. I can see no justification to charge less than LHA especially when Councils are busy upgrading as many of their houses as they can, while simultaneously neglecting basic maintenance on their leasehold stock. On a big 1930s Council estate near me all the Council houses have just had their roofs replaced again and had solar panels added. Private sector houses on that estate rent for around £1300 a month, Council houses for about £500. LHA is £825. If they're going to give RTB discounts they could at least charge proper rent in the first place.

    I don't see what the fuss is about Angela Raynor making a £48K "profit" on her RTB. Over an 8 year period house prices go up. It was a Victorian house so the likelihood is it was in a pretty grim state when she bought it. There's no mention of whether she renovated or upgraded anything in that 8 years but the likelihood is that she would have needed to do a fair bit of work to it. My Victorian ex Council house needed fully rewiring, a central heating system, new windows, kitchen and bathroom. It was also riddled with dry rot.

    So while other aspects of Raynor's RTB may be a bit shady the house selling for £48K more than she paid for it after 8 years of ownership doesn't strike me as in any way unusual or excessive.


    When I divorced, I had to start all over again, having had a weasel for a husband (obviously I bear no grudges! 😜) who ended up with everything because of procedures which were legal, yet morally corrupt! I was very naive at the time, had to learn very quickly.
    I bought my place, after going back to Uni, skilling up, whilst working and bringing up three kids on my own.
    Off the back of that, and using it as security, I started my portfolio, because there was no pension coming my way! I don't regret it at all, yes I needed to upgrade and maintain it, buy it, and with damned hard work, it sllowed me a future and progression, for which I'll be eternally grateful.
    It's not the people who take advantage of the scheme to blame here, for every house sold, a new one, insulated and up-to-date, should be built, to offer quality homes!
    Yes, I'm still living in mine and maintaining it...and working

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    I sort of agree with you Jo, the real issue for me is she did not sell it until after the five year period despite living somewhere else. To be fair I doubt anyone would, but she is in a position that she should have declared it.

    It is hypocritical of her to now preach to anyone on social housing when she literally exploited the system and moved into another council house which also had a discount..!

    And she preaches to landlords about S21 when she moved her brother into her house and no doubt charged him rent.


    The issue here, Jo, is thousands of council tenants bought their council houses, did no work to them and sold them at a significant profit. Two things are wrong with this: profit without working for it and reducing the number of homes available to rent for people with low incomes. As a rtb surveyor in Westminster, I saw this happen time after time. Profits exceeding £80k for doing absolutely nothing were commonplace.
    As for Angela Raynor she wants to deny others the very policy she exploited herself.

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    I bet she has defended it 🤷‍♂️🤔💰💰💰 the red tops have called her a hypocrite…. And that sounds about right. The RTB should have been ended decades ago, it’s morally wrong to sell off taxpayer owned assets at a huge discount, for those owners later on to make a huge profit 😱 madness.


    Agree. People that earn more eventually like Bob Crow (ex-RMT leader and now dead) and Eddie Dempsey (current RMT union director and still with us) earn over 100k per year and stay in their council house, be proud of it and keep paying low rent and strong security of tenure. They should be kicked out.


    When she bought her RTB she was working as a care worker and Union rep. She was a bog standard Council tenant at that point.
    She wasn't elected as an MP until 2015, at which point she sold the ex Council house.

    Why does that make her hypocrite? She used a scheme that the government had created to make a better life for herself and her family. Maybe she didn't 100% play within the rules, although does anyone who is criticising her actually know what the specifics of those rules were regarding letting your RTB or allowing family members to live in it after purchase?

    I'm not a fan of Angela Raynor but aren't people with her sort of background and life experience exactly what we need in politics? Haven't we got far too many over privileged, public school educated blokes who know nothing about how the majority of people live, stuffing up every policy they come up with?
    When MPs are elected shouldn't we just accept they may have stuff in their past that might be a little bit grubby? It would certainly bring more balance to politics if they didn't have to hide everything or be persecuted for their former life choices.


    @ Jo
    The hypocrisy comes from her wanting to stop others enoyng RTB. A bit like the Labour campaign against Grammar schools, not to mention wanting to penalise public schools when they have benefitted from them. THAT is hypocrisy. THAT is the Labour party.


    Lots of good points Jo. But on one point - but I don't think we need any more people like Angela Rayner in politics! That really would lead the country to ruin!


    Annoyed Landlord

    Does she want to totally stop RTB or just address the level of discount? Those discounts have changed at various times over the years. In the late 1980s it was between 30% and 70%. In the early 2000s it was a maximum of £30K.

    In the 80s some of those houses were in a dire state.. The discount may or may not have covered the amount of work needed to bring them up to a decent standard. Obviously some people who bought were tradesmen who could do most of the work themselves, so didn't have to pay for labour costs. If the Council hadn't sold them they would have had huge maintenance costs to bring them up to any kind of suitable standard.
    Things moved on, Councils did some maintenance work, discounts were lowered for a while.
    Right now discounts range from 35% to 70% with a maximum discount of £127900 in London (£96000 outside London). It's right to question why those discounts are quite so high, especially as those tenants who can access those discounts have been paying staggeringly low rent.
    I'm a huge fan of the concept of RTB but the numbers have to be right. A combination of half price rent (regardless of income) and a huge RTB discount is insanity. Something like LHA or market rent and a maximum discount of 25% (subject to the condition of the property) would be far more equitable to all parties (especially the tax payer).


    Jo, Wait and see. I would not trust a Labour politician, nor would I trust one of the faux-Tories.


    Isn't the bigger question why she declared herself on the electoral register as living in the RTB property, whilst her newlywed husband and new born children were declared at a different address. At the same time as local residents say she was not living at the RTB property but rather her brother was resident there (was he paying her rent??).

    Sounds like possible electoral register fraud in an effort to avoid repaying the RTB discount, as would be required if she sold the property within 5 years of purchase. If she was really renting it to her brother, then egg will be most defiantly on her face.

    She is so self-righteous, blasting hard working LL, suggesting rent caps and other anti LL BS, now we see the true HYPOCRACY of these "let's stick our hands in everyone else's pocket" lefties .

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    Comrades and plebeians , all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

  • John  Adams

    Oh of course she has defended it, just like the old Politburo defended their Dacha in Odessa. You can't shame these people they have no shame, just admit you made a quick buck and now you want to close the stable door.

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    Angela you should have kept it and rented it out at a social rent


    She's a champagne socialist. She would never do that. Always taking from others ( tax payers) as she does now.

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    The optics may be bad, but she hasn't done anything wrong. The issue is the policy not the person.

    John  Adams

    Of course the issue is the person, her, Dianne Abacus and Bob Crow all hD council places and she's made money on it and now wants to stop anyone else doing the same.


    So declared herself on the electoral register as living in the RTB property, whilst she was really living with her newlywed husband and new born children at a different address. Local residents say she was not living at the RTB property but rather her brother was resident there. The question then becomes was her brother paying her rent at the RTB address??

    At a minimum that's electoral register fraud, probably in an effort to avoid repaying the RTB discount, which would be required if she sold the property within 5 years of purchase. If she was really renting it to her brother, the the question is did she declare the income as a LL.

    She is so self-righteous, blasting hard working LL, suggesting rent caps and other anti LL BS, now we see the true HYPOCRACY. Politicians on all sides cannot really be trusted can they??

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    The house we live in (a substantial 4 bed) was built in the very large garden of a council house, sold to the tenants at a massive discount who then sold off a building plot. Not the best use of public money

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    Banning RTB in Scotland is the ONLY SNP policy I have EVER agreed with.

    Thatcher wanted to get shot of the maintenance burden of council houses and make workers mortgage holders who would be less likely to strike than social renters.

    The SNP want to keep their voters in cheap subsidised housing and have the higher earners, who don't vote for them, subsidise their voters.

    Labour in England want to keep RTB to reward their voters.

    It's all politics - nothing to do with common sense or economics etc.


    My late parents and my maternal grandparents lived in council houses. My paternal grandmother lived in private rented accommodation. My parents maintained their property themselves rather than run to the council with every little problem, as did my maternal grandparents. My late parents then bought through RTB. My grandparents' estate was split in two by a coombe and the properties the other side we occupied by tenants who wanted everything done for them. This was in the 50's and 60's. It was like two different worlds.

    My paternal grandmother had two sons who did internal repair etc but she had a buddleia's roots growing into the kitchen from the property next door. Both properties were owned by the same landlord but because he could not get her out and increase the rent, he did nothing.

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    Angela Rayner is a nasty embittered socialist and the last thing this Country needs. People like her will ruin our economy, by pandering to people who don’t put any effort into life.


    Well said. Union people spring to mind.


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