Extending Right to Buy will worsen rural affordable homes crisis, says CPRE

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson unveiled plans yesterday to make it easier for people to buy their own home by extending the Right to Buy scheme.

Speaking in Blackpool, the prime minister said that he will commit to “reforms to help people cut costs in every area of household expenditure” over the next few weeks.

He argued that the £30bn currently spent on housing benefit, of which much is currently paid as rent to private landlords, should instead be used to help people secure and pay for mortgages on their own home.

Johnson’s intention to extend Right to Buy and allow housing association tenants to buy their properties at a discounted price would in turn create fresh housing stock for investors to buy in the future.

But Tom Fyans, director of campaigns and policy at CPRE, the countryside charity, is concerned that the policy will not address the shortage of much needed properties in rural areas. 

He said: “Unfortunately, this is another example of a government rapidly losing touch with the realities of rural life. Extending right to buy will do nothing to address the rural affordable homes crisis because the problem is a lack of homes in the first place. There are 176,000 families in rural areas on social housing waiting lists. These are families that could be even further disadvantaged by housing associations being forced to sell their limited homes on the cheap. 

The number one lesson of right to buy in a rural context is that it decimated rural social housing stocks. What low-income families need is hundreds of thousands more truly affordable homes to live in. Those living in the countryside are hampered by low wages and high house prices. That’s why the government needs to commit to building 145,000 social homes a year to fill the gap between supply and demand. 

The demand for social housing is growing nearly six times faster than the rate of supply in rural areas. At current rates, the backlog of low-income families needing accommodation would take 121 years to clear. This is an utterly unsustainable situation and potentially selling off the few remaining housing association properties we do have will make a bad situation immeasurably worse.”


Comments 2

  1. Right to Buy was, at the time, a very clever way of buying votes and increasing the supporters of the Conservative Party. They did this with the Country’s assets offering massive discounts. It turned a number of traditional Labour voters at the time into new conservatives as suddenly they were property owners. It was the discounts that was the obscene aspect ie state money to convert voters – buying votes. It might have been more moral had a small discount be offered say 10% or 15% and money used to build new homes as old housing stock is more expensive to maintain. Funding from the sales should have been ring fenced for new homes. If people could afford to buy a private home they did so and the council property was there for another needy social tenant. Selling state owned council housing was asset stripping. This is not the solution more social housing is needed and this is even more important as the Government and all political parties Landlord Bash and shatter the confidence of the rental property investors by their mad political actions, inspired by political vote buying. Organisations who landlord bash chase their politcal aims at the cost of the poorest and neediest in society but the population is too blinkered to see what is happening. Even the left wing BBC is starting to realise the PRS landlords are fleeing to the market, confidence will become irrepairably damaged as happened with the Rent Act 1977; history repeating itself. First Council Housing, now housing associations and next the private rented sector. The Government are fools albeit clever fools so that the public do not understand what is happening.

  2. Will is 100% right.
    The ONLY thing on Boris’s mind with this is how to find some way to shore up his (and thereby the Con party) standing with the electorate after the disgusting antics in Downing Street during Covid.
    They have discarded their plans for planning reform to quash the monopoly power of our so called councils and they are just now openly moving away from their 350000 houses pa building pledge.
    In addition they still dither over rent reforms and abolition of section 21, that’s good because every month of delay brings us closer to next election and there is no chance they will introduce further landlord bashing so close to an election.
    Whole situation is a joke
    Not likely to be solved in my opinion.
    We are leaving our letting properties empty now and preparing for holiday lets (we live in Cornwall with 22k on housing waiting list)
    The government are dense but nothing new in that.

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