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Latest Right To Buy idea may be watered down

The House of Lords has set the cat amongst the pigeons on the government proposal to give housing association tenants the right to buy their properties with discounts, in the style of council tenants. 

During the election campaign the Conservative party pledged to extend the Right To Buy scheme to over 1.3 million housing association tenants. Since being elected, the party in government has pledged that receipts from selling an owner’s current property will help housing associations to build replacement affordable homes on a one-for-one basis.

However, the Lords has now voted by 257 votes to 174 in favour of an amendment to the Housing Bill which would prevent charities being “compelled to use or dispose of their assets in a way which is inconsistent with their charitable purposes”.


Many housing associations are charities so if this amendment survives the remaining stages of the Bill’s passage through Parliament, it may be an opportunity to overturn the pledge. 

One of the Lords instrumental in getting the amendment debated and passed was the Liberal Democrat peer Monroe Palmer - also chairman of the advisory panel of the Property Redress Scheme

Another supporter of the amendment - cross-bench peer and former housing civil servant Lord Kerslake - is chair of the Peabody housing association and said in the Lords that the government’s plans would be “a major disincentive to charitable benefactors ... to donate their money or land to good causes when the government can directly intervene and direct the sale of those assets for very different purposes”.

The Commons will have to vote in favour of the amendment before it passes into law.

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    Charities surely want the eventual "freedom" of the needy - Selling HA Tenantstheir homes (fully supported by Govt incrntives) the housing associations would be "releasing" the tenants having helped them immensely - but surely this is the ultimate aim of charity work
    The disgruntled Charity Chairpersons Company Directors etc perhaps have strong personal agendas and in keeping the poor poor remain powerful, wealthy and pompous above the straggling lower classes

  • Jon  Tarrey

    Rubbish! You really think charities want to keep the poor poor? That's the job of the government and they're wonderful at it.

    RTB is a nonsense scheme that didn't work last time - why do you think we have such an issue with social housing these days? Why are so many ex-council properties now in the hands of private landlords? - and won't work this time. They're trying to follow Thatcher's ideological wet dream even though no-one, no-one, outside the Tory party thinks this is the right move.

    I'm very glad to see the House of Lords quashing this. That's the government's main problem, they have to pass motions through the HoL, which is full to the brim with Labour and Lib Dem peers. Good luck with that! As far as I know, the Tories don't want to abolish the HoL, whereas Labour in the their election manifesto said they would, so the Tories have basically shot themselves in the foot.

    RTB should be confined to the annals of history, not brought back to life in some desperate attempt to bag the votes of housing association tenants.

  • Rob  Davies

    @ Rachel Stone - very well, let's extend it to tenants in the Private Rented Sector too then. Why should it be one rule for housing association tenants and another for tenants forced into the PRS because there isn't enough social housing? And there isn't enough social housing because of RTB. Housing sold off, never replaced.

    There were always serious question markets over whether the government could force housing associations - independent, not-for-profit organisations - to sell off their biggest assets. This amendment will make that even harder.

    Maybe now the government will have to think of some actual housing policy rather than election bribes and schemes thought up on the back of a fag packet. I don't hold out very much hope...

  • Algarve  Investor

    Why are they persisting with this? It's a flawed, antiquated policy that will do absolutely nothing to solve the housing shortage. Surely someone at Downing Street recognises that?


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