‘Right to Buy’ expansion to be capped

Housing secretary Michael Gove has revealed that the government’s plans to expand the “Right to Buy” scheme will be capped.

Maragaret Thatcher was the first to use this policy. It allows tenants of long standing local authorities to buy their homes at a greatly discounted price.

Quizzed over whether the government will funnel fresh funding towards the initiative, Gove told Sky News: “It will come from the overall parcel, the overall envelope of government spending at the moment.

“We expect that we will cap the number of people who will be able to benefit from this initially and then it will grow over time.”


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However Gove refused to say how many people would be permitted to partake in the plans, telling Sky News: “We are thinking at the moment about exactly how many can benefit each year and that is something that I will be discussing with housing associations because again of course we have the resources to be able to fund a programme of this kind but we want to make sure housing associations come with us and they recognise that their balance sheets are going to be robust.”

“We have costed it but again I don’t want to get into speculation about the exact number,” he added.

This afternoon the prime minister is scheduled to deliver a speech in which he will outline forthcoming housing policies following his narrow victory in Monday’s no-confidence vote.

Right to Buy does not apply to charities, housing cooperatives, the Housing Corporation, and social landlords who are not in receipt public funds. A Right to Buy landlord can refuse to sell accommodation that is particularly suitable for older persons, but this is subject to a time-limited appeal.

Right to Buy was one of the first major reforms that the Thatcher government introduced. It was included in the Housing Act 1980.

The 1970s had seen some local authorities voluntarily sell parts of their housing stock, but the introduction of Right to Buy – forcing local authorities to sell their properties on request at a discount – was highly politically controversial. NALGO union members refused to process Right to Buy requests after the Act was passed. Despite the strike, 90,000. properties were sold that year.

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