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New Right to Buy Proposals Come Under Fire From Housing Experts
The Prime Minister’s promise to extend the right to buy scheme to 1.3 million families living in housing association properties has come under fire from housing experts. Council house tenants are already able to buy their homes at discounted prices, and should a conservative government be elected on May 7th, the scheme will be extended to housing association tenants who will receive discounts to a maximum of £102,700 in London and £77,000 across the rest of England.
The move has come in for heavy criticism from some quarters, with the National Housing Federation claiming the policy could cost up to £5.8 billion a year. The figure includes compensation paid to housing associations for being forced to sell their properties below market rates. Gavin Smart, the deputy chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing told the Guardian, “Extending right-to-buy to housing associations is not going to tackle the housing crisis – in fact it could make things worse for people on lower incomes who are already struggling to access a decent home at a price they can afford. We fear the figures simply won’t stack up.”
Subsidies to housing associations would be funded by councils selling their higher value properties once they become vacant, with every house being replaced on a one-for-one basis. Housing charity Shelter estimates that there are currently 1.8 million families on council waiting lists or living in temporary accommodation in England.