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Extending ‘Right to Buy’ scheme won't help housing crisis, argues town planning expert

UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 28 MAY 2015
houses for sale

Government plans to extend ‘Right to Buy’ discounts to 1.3m housing association tenants isn’t dealing with the housing crisis but instead targeting new Tory voters, a Birmingham City University expert has warned.

“This is a double whammy and bad news for the provision of social housing”, said Alister Scott, Professor of Environment and Spatial Planning at Birmingham City University.

“Housing associations will lose their stock and then local authorities will lose their highest price stock of council housing, having to provide money for new buildings. Past history has shown that the replacements will not keep up with the losses and the spatial impact of where these houses are lost will be significant and will worsen the housing waiting lists.”

The Government announced new measures in the Queen’s Speech to Parliament yesterday, giving tenants the right to buy their homes while requiring councils to sell off high-value properties and invest the proceeds into building affordable ones.

Alister highlighted other initiatives that seem destined to fail: “David Cameron’s recent pre-election pledge for 200,000 new discounted houses is what I would call a ‘Ryanair approach to housing’, reducing basic services to a minimal level.”

“Housing needs essential services and infrastructure to build  communities and these are not optional extras. The Right to Buy extension in the housing bill is more about creating a new class of Tory voters, rather than a series of coherent measures to deal with the housing crisis. It actually will add to the problem and lead to a sell off of stock in areas where there is acute need.”

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