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You can keep your home, but only if you buy it!

The decision of the government to extend right-to-buy sales not only in time but also in scope — to housing association tenants — is disastrous, but also completely at odds with its other attacks on tenants and those in housing need. The attack on tenants’ security of tenure through regular reviews and fixed tenancies for new tenants, the narrowing of inheritance rules plus ever higher rents and cuts to housing benefit have been “justified” on the basis that scarce resources should be targeted at those most in need. You would have thought that logic would demand that, on the same basis, housing stock would be preserved by ending right-to-buy, a policy that clearly favours better off tenants at the expense of people in housing need by reducing the available stock of properties. Instead, right-to buy is to be extended even further, increasing the reduction in housing stock at the same time as house building is at an all-time low.

The Right-to-buy scheme has been responsible for a massive reduction in the stock of social housing.  Since its introduction by Mrs Thatcher, 2½million homes have become unavailable for people in housing need under the scheme. In the same period only about 1 million social housing units have been built.As can be seen in the chart below, Labour’s record was abysmal: until 2008, fewer social housing units were completed under Labour than in every year under the Tories between 1979 and 1997. The slightly increased number thereafter, whilst welcome, was still fewer than half the average in Mrs Thatcher’s first term and one-sixth of what Labour built in the sixties.

In recent years, home sales under the Right-to-buy scheme has fallen to a trickle, but the Coalition’s decision may well revive it. Building will, however, drop further. Some Lib Dems may not be happy about it and even the Daily Mail has its doubts, but the Grant Shapps and the  Coalition plough on regardless.

2 Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    Essentially you will be forced to buy or be evicted!

  2. Andrew says:

    And they will be forced to take Mortgages out they cant afford to pay back, now when did that happen before!

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