BOSCA Prospective Parliamentary Candidate JP Floru has written to Jo Johnson MP, Head of the Downing Street Policy Unit, to allow housing association tenants to buy their own homes. If the policy becomes part of the Conservative Party Manifesto, a Conservative general election win could turn 5 million Britons into property owners.
The proposals were drafted by Kate Davies, the Chief Executive of Notting Hill Housing, for Iain Duncan’s Smith’s Centre for Social Justice. All will remember the phenomenal success of Margaret Thatcher’s Right to Buy scheme, which saw 1.5 million homes being sold to their tenants. Housing Associations are excluded, as they are private non-profit organisations. There is a Right to Acquire properties owned by housing associations, but there are strict rules and the discount given to the tenants is small.
The new proposed policy would extend Right to Buy to housing association properties, allowing millions to get a step onto the property ladder. The success would depend upon the amount of the discount current tenants would obtain. Right to Acquire discounts vary from £9,000 to £16,000; whereas Right to Buy allows discounts up to £102,000 in London. In view of the current very high market value of property in London the new Right to Buy for housing association properties may have to be higher than £102,000 to be successful. Alternatively, shared ownership Right to Buy may have to be considered.
The proceeds of the new Right to Buy could be used for an extensive new house building programme. In The Telegraph Allister Heath proposes an even more radical plan: to give the homes away to their tenants, and charge them a tax of between 20 and 35% when they sell them on a few years later. The only difference with Right to Buy would be that the new homeowner would not be charged when he buys the house, but when he sells it.
Thanks to the Conservatives, 70,000 families have already acquired a home under the Help to Buy scheme. The new policy proposal for Right to Buy housing association properties is a sharp contrast to the Liberal Democrats’ proposal to tax people’s own homes. Within the Labour Party there have already been calls to reduce the threshold of their proposed £2 million mansion tax to £400,000.
Conservatives want you to become home owners. LibLab want to tax your home away.