Right To Buy Scheme To Be Extended
David Cameron has said that a future Conservative government would extend the right of council tenants to buy their own homes. The Prime Minister made the pledge as he launced the Conservative Party's Manifesto. Under the scheme up to 1.3 million council tenants could realise their dream of owning their own home at a discount according to the Prime Minister.
As he unveiled his party's manifesto he also said that his party was on the side of working people and would do all it could to help working people buy the homes that in some cases they had rented for much of their life. The Labour party have already criticised the pledge by saying that it was unfunded and that further cuts or more borrowing would be needed to fund the scheme.
Margaret Thatcher Era Of The 1980's
According to political experts Mr Cameron is reaching back into the Thather era when the "right to buy" policy was first introduced across the UK. It was a flagship policy of the Thatcher government in the 1980's and was very popular amongst voters. Council tenants across the UK were told that they could buy their homes at a discount and many of them went on to do so. This policy was extremely popular back then and David Cameron is hoping to tap into that popularity now as he aims for a second term in office.
The property owning democracy which was introduced by Margaret Thatcher allowed council tenants to buy their homes but Mr Cameron will now pledge to extend the scheme to housing association tenants. Under current rules around 800,000 tenants that rent through housing associations have a "right to acquire" their homes. However they are only currently able to buy their homes at a discount that is considerably smaller than council tenants that buy their homes.
Further 500,000 Tenants Could Benefit Under New Rules
The conservatives have said that they will change the rules so that housing association tenants would get the same discounts as council tenants which is means that their homes can be purchased for considerably less than at present. They have also said that they would allow a further 500,000 tenants that currently do not have purchase rights the right to buy their homes. In order to keep social housing stock at current levels the Conservatives have said that they will replace every home sold with a newly built home.
According to experts the number of homes that will be sold to tenants could be as much as 15,000 each year. This means that 15,000 new homes would be built every year to replace this stock. The money raised from the sale of council homes will also mean that councils will be able to build homes on brownfield sites as well as develop derelict sites. Mr cameron has also said that under a Conservative government 400,000 new homes would be built over the next five years.
Councils Forced To Sell Expensive Homes In London
Councils will be forced to sell their most expensive stock and replace it with more suitable homes for families across Britain. Councils have already been selling off vast swathes of London's victorian homes because the prices are so high. The money is then used to build more suitable accommodation locally that fulfills the needs of local families according to the conservatives. This is seen as a way of forcing local councils to manage their stock better. Many of the old victorian homes in London are selling for millions of pounds. You can build a block of flats with that sort of money and house several families.
Discounted Council Homes
The right to buy means that a council tenant has the right to buy their home at a discount. The discount is dependent on the type of property and the length of time they have been there. There are regional differences in terms and discounts. Currently the maximum discount is £77,900 across England and £103,900 in London. The scheme is being abolished in Scotland and is also going to be abolished in Wales.
The government has said that this is aimed at the aspirational voter who works hard and wants to become part of the uk's property owning democracy. Under current rules hundreds of thousands of families will never own their own home and it is this part of the electorate that the Conservatives are appealing to. If they can woo these voters it could well decide the election in what many political experts have said is still too tight to call. David Cameron is looking for a boost similar to that that helped Margaret Thatcher in the 80's.