Hunters founder and new Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake says he supports the Tory policy of extending Right To Buy to housing associaton properties despite widespread criticism of the initiative within the agency and property communities.
Since being introduced for council flats and houses in 1980, almost 1.9m council properties have been sold through Right to Buy in England alone, and the total social housing stock has fallen by 26 per since the first full year the policy came into effect, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
During the recent election campaign, the Conservatives pledged to extend the policy to some housing association properties too.
However, Hollinrake - newly-elected as MP for Thirsk and Malton - has told the Yorkshire Post that he backs the proposal to give housing association tenants RTB discounts of 35 per cent on a house and 50 per cent on a flat after three years of renting.
“The problem last time, when local authority tenants were given the right to buy, was that no money was set aside to replace the houses that were sold. The principle was good but not the practice” he says.
“Now there will be a statutory obligation to replace every property that is sold with another affordable home. I don’t see a problem with that and I think it will encourage housing associations to be proactive. Rather than just acting as landlords and collecting rent, they will have to build and that will be good for people on housing waiting lists” he claims.
There is already some speculation that the initiative may not see the light of day. The well-connected Sunday Times economics editor, David Smith, has described the RTB policy as one “which nobody much liked the sound of” and says it may be “kicked into the long grass.”