I was pleased to read in the week-end press that the Conservative Manifesto is likely to include a better right to buy offer for people renting from Housing Associations. We have been talking about this for sometime in the Parliamentary party with Ministers.
I am also pleased that the more radical idea of gifting the properties to tenants who have paid rent and behaved well for a specified time period has been vetoed. It would seem to be very unfair on all those who have saved and struggled to buy a home in the normal way, or on those who have to rent from the private sector because they have not qualified for Housing Association property, that they have to help pay for free homes for those who do rent from the state.
There will be the usual left wing protests against this policy, as there were against Council house sales in the 1980s. They are already out and about saying it is quite wrong because it means fewer social homes for people to rent. It means nothing of the sort. The day after the purchase has gone through the same people are living in the same home. The home is not destroyed or made empty. It is still the family home. The only thing that has changed is the state has some of its money back from the sale, so it can reduce its debts or build a new property with the money.
The impact on state finances is usually positive. The new owner takes over the costs of maintaining and repairing the property from the Housing Association. The Housing Association saves costs and has a receipt which it can use for other purposes.