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Housing associations poised to strike deal on Right to Buy

  • 25/09/2015
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Housing associations poised to strike deal on Right to Buy
The National Housing Federation (NHF) is set to propose a deal on the government’s Right to Buy scheme to its 1,100 members, that could allow an extension of the initiative to pass through parliament.

Speaking in Birmingham at the federation’s annual conference on Thursday, the NHF said under the terms of the proposal, it would expect the discount that individuals receive under Right to Buy to be fully funded by government.

Rather than force the sale of social housing stock, a crucial aspect of the proposal would allow associations to voluntarily sell its stock under legislation, the NHF said, therefore maintaining the independence of the sector.

The federation said that thanks to the independence of housing associations, it had attracted £75bn in private funding over recent years that allowed it to match £6 for every £1 invested by the taxpayer last year.

The proposed plan to extend the Right to Buy scheme to 1.2m homes has attracted considerable speculation, with the House of Lords voting in favour of an amendment to the plans in July. The changes could allow significantly larger discounts for buyers, of up to £103,900 in London and £77,900 across the rest of England.

Last year, housing associations built 50,000 homes which accounted for 40% of all new homes in the country. These associations have also contributed to the government’s shared ownership scheme, which has helped 230,000 households get a foot in the door to home ownership to date.

If enough of the federation’s members sign up to the proposal, it will be put forward to government.

David Orr, chief executive at the National Housing Federation said he was confident members would view the proposal as a positive move for housing associations and tenants.

“Housing association households could get the opportunity to realise their dreams of homeownership, and housing associations would be able to replace the homes sold, boosting the nation’s housing supply,” he said.

“It also means housing associations could retain the independence which has allowed them to channel billions of pounds in private investment into home building over the last 30 years.

“Housing associations have always been committed to helping their tenants get on in life, whether that’s finding a job or buying their first home. So we are urging our members to sign up to work with government to deliver this new Right to Buy proposal.”

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