Tories ‘would extend Right to Buy to 1.3m’

Prime minister David Cameron says a Conservative government would extend the Right to Buy programme to 1.3 million housing association tenants.

Currently, 500,000 housing association tenants can purchase their homes under the existing Right to Acquire scheme.

Cameron says the Conservatives would also raise the discount offered to housing association tenants to match the 35 per cent standard discount available to council renters under the Right to Buy programme.

Following the publication of the Conservative election manifesto last week, Cameron said the Tories would offer “security at every stage of your life”, from training to buying a home, childcare, a well-funded NHS and a decent retirement.

The housing plans will be funded by a requirement for councils to sell off their most expensive housing stock when it is vacated.

The Conservatives estimate the sales would raise £4.5bn, with councils required to build cheaper homes on a one-to-one basis, backed by a new £1bn fund to develop on brownfield land.

It is forecast that 15,000 homes would be bought and sold each year as a result, with construction of a further 400,000 homes expected by the end of the next parliament.

However, the National Housing Federation has already disputed the forecasts on new housing stock.

The NHF said 1.88 million council homes have been sold under Right to Buy since 1980 but just over 345,000 homes have been built by local authorities.

Current Right to Buy rules allow people living in council houses to purchase their homes at a discounted rate, depending on the length of their tenancy and the type of property, up to a maximum of £77,900, or £103,900 in London.

Similar programmes in Scotland have been scrapped by devolved local authorities over concerns about the impact on housing stock.