Right to buy blow

From http://www.qlocal.com


Housing minister Grant Shapps has dealt a huge blow to thousands of rent payers across Lancashire and Merseyside, after refusing to allow them a share in the massive discounts of upto £75,000 being offered to council house tenants.

The news is a slap in the face to aspiring homeowners in the social housing sector.

Lobbyists like Tory David Davis and Labour’s Frank Field said extending the Right to Buy would raise billions more for affordable homes schemes.

The pair said: “Preventing tenants from owning their own homes ties up money that could be used to help people onto the housing ladder.”

However the Right to Buy is being given to former council house occupiers who have transferred to a housing association. This means residents in the same street could have wildly different rights over house purchases.

Freelance journalist Barry Turnbull, a housing association tenant in Wirral, said; “This is scandalous and inherently unfair.

“My neighbour, a former council resident, can get a 50% discount should he choose to buy – probably equivalent to £40,000 or £50,0000 – yet my discount is capped at a maximum of £16,000 under a different set of rules called Right to Acquire.

“So, where’s the Big Society and the idea that we are all in in together? Is this about freeing up cash for affordable housing or offering huge discounts in the hope of gaining votes in Labour’s heartlands?”

A number of housing associations are actively campaigning for the Right to Buy to be extended.

Mr Shapps said: “There are no plans to extend Right to Buy discounts to housing association tenants. This is because, unlike local authorities, associations are independent, not for profit bodies and if they are consistently obliged to sell at less than market value they might find it more difficult to borrow which could impact on repairs or have an affect on the provision of affordable housing.”


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