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Hounslow Borough Liberal Democrats

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Letter from Tory Minister shows Right to Buy flaws

April 20, 2015 8:19 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

The Conservatives have admitted their Right to Buy housing scheme would damage communities. A letter sent to Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt in October 2013 by then Conservative Housing Minister Kris Hopkins reveals that at least some in the Conservative party know their policy is deeply unfair.

By allowing social housing tenants to purchase their homes at a large discount, the Right to Buy policy will lead to longer waiting lists for homes and fewer social houses, doing nothing to tackle the country's affordable housing needs and only benefiting the lucky few.

It also has the potential to, as Hopkins writes, "incur a high liability for the public purse."

The letter confirms that only the Liberal Democrats have a plan to deliver on housing. We want to build 300,000 new homes each year and introduce a Rent to Own scheme to help first-time buyers.

Mr Hopkins's letter states:

"Housing associations are independent, not for profit voluntary bodies and if they are obliged to consistently sell off their stock at less than market value they might find it difficult to borrow which could impact adversely on their repair and maintenance programmes and affect the future provision of affordable housing."

"Any increase to the discount available under the [Right to Buy] would only be possible through upfront central Government subsidy, potentially incurring a high liability for the public purse."


Commenting on these revelations, the Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesman Stephen Williams commented:

"It beggars belief that the Conservatives have made these plans the centrepiece of their manifesto despite knowing the damage they would have on communities.

"That they are pushing ahead despite privately acknowledging the terrible effect their policy will have on affordable housing stocks and the UK's finances is a damning indictment of their priorities.

"They are so transfixed by Margaret Thatcher's failed 1980s ideology they are prepared to sacrifice their economic credibility and deepen Britain's housing crisis.

"The Liberal Democrats want to make certain there's more affordable housing, not less, by building 300,000 homes a year and making it easier for young people to both rent their first property and then buy their first home."