It is well known that I oppose the governments pre election promise to promote and extend the ill conceived ‘right to buy’ policy.
Whilst when introduced in the seventies under Margaret Thatcher, it extended the ability to be a ‘home owner’ to many and to reduce the maintenance cost of housing stock, it now makes it extremely difficult to provide ‘affordable’ homes for local people and maintain the stock in public or housing association stewardship.
It undermines the very mechanism of funding at the same time as pulling the rug on retention.
In a Times Article today it seems like I am not on my own.
One of the ideas I believe we should explore on areas such as Lyme and Uplyme is to seek local exemption from such national policies and seek to adopt local policies to meet local need…. From the Times via Local Government information service…
“Tories were warned over right-to-buy cost
The Times claims that Whitehall officials warned David Cameron against plans to extend the right-to-buy scheme weeks before the general election.
According to the paper, the Tories asked civil servants to look at their plan to extend the policy of right-to-buy from council houses to 1.3m homes owned by housing associations. The officials told Downing Street that the plan would be very costly – at least £5bn – and it would be difficult to replace those sold, leading to a shortage of affordable homes.
They were concerned about funding the scheme by forcing councils to sell off their most expensive properties, the Times understands. Housing officials met Greg Clark, the communities secretary, and Brandon Lewis, the housing minister, to voice concerns.
The ministers were asked if they would make the policy voluntary and if they would agree to small exemptions in rural areas.
They demanded compensation for the homes sold.
“With a nation in the throes of a housing crisis, it is key that housing associations are in full control of the assets against which they borrow to build homes,” said Henry Gregg, assistant director at the National Housing Federation.”