Robin Walker, MP for Worcester has welcomed the news that thanks to the Conservatives,

housing association tenants in England will be eligible to buy their housing association home

and will soon be able to register their interest.

 

In Worcester, 6,780 families will potentially be able to benefit from this change, helping them

to get on the housing ladder and buy their own home at a price they can afford.

These changes will be set out in a new Housing Bill that will also contain measures to build

new discounted homes for first-time buyers, unlock public sector land for new homes and

give local people more of a say over where new housing goes.

 

In England, Council house building starts are now at a 23 year high and almost twice as

many council homes have been built in the last four years than from 1997 to 2009.

Previously, Councils were not encouraged to build new homes from sales receipts and only

one new council home was built for every 170 Right to Buy sales completed under the last

Labour Government.

 

The Coalition’s revival of Right to Buy corrected this and since the Right to Buy was

reinvigorated across England, £730 million in sales receipts are being re-invested in

affordable house building; levering a further £1.7 billion of investment over the next two

years. This means that in total, over £2.4 billion will be raised to invest in affordable house

building as a result of Right to Buy since 2012

 

Robin said:

“I welcome the extension or right to buy but crucially also the fact that it is balanced with real

investment in new housing supply including the support for small housebuilders.”

“I know from my meetings with local Housing Associations such as Fortis and Sanctuary that

they are investing both in new flats and houses for social rent and in affordable ownership

models such as shared ownership. We have also seen a welcome revival in the construction

industry more generally and in regeneration projects such as the housing delivered at the old

Ronkswood Hospital site and to the West of Worcester in particular. I welcome this reversal

of the situation whereby affordable housing starts, which fell to their lowest level since the

1920s under Labour, have recovered.”

 

“According to the latest figures, Worcester City is on course to deliver well over 100

affordable homes in the current year compared to the 76 delivered in the previous year when

a Labour administration ran the council. I am glad to see that locally as well as nationally, the

number of affordable units is beginning to rise but there is clearly further to go. The approval

of the South Worcestershire Development Plan should enable the delivery of substantially

more affordable housing in and around the city in the years to come.

“I think that, in this context, the extension of right to buy to housing association tenants is

welcome and alongside other initiatives such as the help to buy scheme and investment in

tens of thousands of discounted starter homes for first time buyers it can help to support

widespread home ownership.”

 

Notes to Editors:

Extending Right to Buy to housing association tenants. To make sure more people can enjoy

the security of home ownership, we will extend the Right to Buy to up to 1.3 million tenants

of housing associations, ending the unfairness that allowed only council house tenants to

use Right to Buy. In the coming months people will be able to register their interest in buying

their home which will be available at a discount of up to 70 per cent off the market price,

depending on how long the tenant has lived there. Homes that are sold to tenants will be

replaced with new affordable homes on a one for one basis.

 

Ensuring councils efficiently use their housing stock. We will require councils to sell their

most expensive housing when it falls vacant – with the receipts used to provide new

affordable homes in the same area, and the surplus used to fund the Right to Buy for

housing association tenants.

 

Over 40,000 families have used Right to Buy since 2010. Since April 2010 there have been

over 40,000 council houses and housing association sales to tenants. Over 33,000 of these

sales have been since Right to Buy was reinvigorated in April 2012 (DCLG Press Release,

24 February 2015, link; Hansard, Col. 152WS, 26 March 2015, link).

 

Council house building is at a 23 year high. In England, council house building starts are

now at a 23 year high and almost twice as many council homes have been built in the last

four years than from 1997 to 2009. Previously, councils were not encouraged to build new

homes from sales receipts and only one new council home was built for every 170 Right to

Buy sales completed under the last Labour Government (Hansard, Col. 152WS, 26 March

2015, link).

 

The Right to Buy is increasing housing investment and housing construction. Since the Right

to Buy was reinvigorated across England, £730 million in sales receipts are being re-

invested in affordable house building; levering a further £1.7 billion of investment over the

next two years. This means that in total, over £2.4 billion will be raised to invest in affordable

house building as a result of Right to Buy since 2012 (Hansard, Col. 152WS, 26 March

2015, link).

 

Labour cut back Right to Buy in England when in government. In 2003 Labour cut and

capped discounts at between £16,000 and £38,000. In 2003/04 there were 84,000 Right to

Buy sales but by 2009/10 this had collapsed to only 3,100 (Hansard, 22 January 2003, link;

DCLG, Table 671, Annual Right to Buy Sales for England, 16 May 2013, link).

Labour in Wales want to scrap Right to Buy. On 22 January 2015, Lesley Griffiths, Minister

for Communities and Tackling Poverty, announced that the Labour will look at ‘the

development of new primary legislation to end the Right to Buy’ (Welsh Government, Written

Statement – The Future of Right to Buy and Right to Acquire, 22 January 2015, link).