The Conservative party has announced a policy of extending the right-to-buy scheme to housing association tenants, forcing the associations to sell properties to tenants at a discount. This is in contrast to the Labour Government’s recently stated policy of curtailing the right to buy in certain areas, mainly the South East.
Speaking at the recent Conservative Party conference, David Davis, local government and regions spokesman, said cash raised through such sales would be pumped back into building new social housing. Davis acknowledged the plans would be unpopular with the associations, but hoped it would be popular with the million association tenants without the right to buy.
He said: ‘It is a lottery because if they had been offered a council house they would have had the right to buy. That must change.’
Although the plan would reduce the number of homes in the social rent sector, the Conservatives believe the number of homes available for rent would rise.
Davis pointed out that only some housing association homes are available to new tenants at the moment, but homes built with the proceeds of sales would all be available for new tenants.
He added that not all those in association housing needed subsidised housing.
The Government has announced its intention to restrict the right-to-buy scheme in some ‘hotspots’ in the South East.
John Prescott, deputy prime minister, said the scheme was undermining attempts to provide social housing. He also pointed out the Conservatives exempted certain rural areas from right to buy when they were in power.