The Conservative Party has said that today’s speech, by PM David Cameron, on it’s election manifesto will include the Thatcherite policy of extending the ‘right to buy’ to Housing Association Tenants.
Under current rules, about 800,000 housing association tenants have a “right to acquire” their homes under smaller discounts, but the Conservatives would offer those people the same reductions as for those in local authority homes.
And they would also extend the scheme to those who currently have no purchase rights at all, estimated to be about 500,000 people.
The move would be funded by new rules which will force councils to sell properties ranked amongst the most expensive third of their type in the local area, once they become vacant.
The Conservatives say every house purchased will be replaced “on a one-for-one basis” with more affordable homes and no-one will be forced to leave their home, yet surely the point that more social housing is required in the country is being missed here?
Ruth Davison, from the National Housing Federation – which represents housing associations – said it was “the wrong solution” to the UK’s housing shortage as it would benefit “some of the most securely housed people in the country on the lowest rents”.
“You can no more force housing associations to sell their assets at less than they are worth than you could force Tesco to sell their assets or Cancer Research,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning.
“Housing associations would have to be fully recompensed for any sale. There will be a cost to the taxpayer – at a conservative estimate £5.8bn” – possibly costing the country up to £20bn!
So to get this straight; the Tories are planning to sell social housing in order to build more social housing and help to pay for this by selling them for a price that will likely cost the country at least £5.8bn.