Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Government turns to facebook to promote Right to Buy

The government marked today's introduction of enhanced Right to Buy discounts (see CoalitionWatch 12 March) with a press campaign accompanied by a new Right to Buy facebook page to help councils inform tenants of their rights.

The page draws together information on the scheme from a number of sources as well as providing a forum for the public to comment and Like - attracting around 250 Likes in its first day.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said:
 "Years of punitive limitations on the level of discounts under Right to Buy have sabotaged the aspirations of hardworking council tenants who want to take their first step on the property ladder.

"This Government wants to help everyone achieve their aspirations - so I'm delighted to announce that from today these miserly restrictions on discounts are history, and tenants will once again receive genuine assistance to feel the pride of home ownership."
The government has promised that the additional homes sold under the revamped scheme will be replaced by new properties for affordable rent, ensuring there is no reduction in the number of affordable homes.

Yet the policy advisor for ARCH, the body that represents councils with housing, says:
"It looks very difficult for most councils to do one-for-one replacement.

"Receipts after the discount will not be sufficient to deliver 30 per cent of [the cost of building] a replacement in any area we have looked at. They just don't seem to add up."


  1. Writing on ConservativeHome, Grant Shapps told party activists "extending the Right to Buy is a great campaigning message this May".

    Looking back to the introduction of the legislation, Shapps tells his readers:
    "The Right to Buy gave something back to families who worked, paid their rent and played by the rules. It allowed them to do up their home, change their front door, improve their garden – without getting permission from clipboard-wielding bureaucrats down the town hall."

    He urges candidates and canvassers in the May elections "Remind voters that Labour politicians want fewer rights and less choice for tenants. Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Minister, Caroline Flint, has branded home ownership as ‘the English disease’ – which illustrates exactly where Ed Miliband’s Labour Party now stand."

  2. Kevin Gulliver, blogging for Left Foot Forward in the Guardian argues that right-to-buy scheme is economically irrational and negligent.

    He says "The rejuvenated RtB, however, like much of government policy, flies in the face of inconvenient facts, while underscoring the government's obsession with home ownership and its role in fostering 'conservative values'. Rather than implementing a more balanced housing policy to meet the UK's growing housing needs and one that enables everyone, regardless of tenure, to accumulate assets – an asset-owning rather than a property-owning democracy – the government is seeking to shore up levels of home ownership the credit crunch has already exposed as unsustainable."


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