Boris Johnson slammed for 'hare-brained' plan to revive '80s Right to Buy policy

2 May 2022, 16:46 | Updated: 2 May 2022, 22:33

Boris Johnson is reported to be planning a scheme similar to Margaret Thatcher's Right to Buy.
Boris Johnson is reported to be planning a scheme similar to Margaret Thatcher's Right to Buy. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Boris Johnson has been criticised for "hare-brained" plans to revive Margaret Thatcher's 'Right to Buy' policy.

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The Prime Minister wants millions to be given the opportunity to buy the properties they rent from housing associations in a move inspired by Ms Thatcher's Right to Buy scheme, it is believed.

He ordered officials to develop plans to help "generation rent", according to The Telegraph.

It would give 2.5 million households in England who rent properties from housing associations the power to purchase their homes at a cheaper price - a revised version of Ms Thatcher's scheme which allowed families to buy homes from councils.

"The Prime Minister has got very excited about this. It could be hugely significant," a source told the paper.

"In many ways it is a direct replica of the great Maggie idea of 'buy your own council flat'. It is 'buy your own housing association flat'."

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However, Mr Johnson has received backlash for the plans believed to be in place.

Shadow Levelling Up Secretary Lisa Nandy branded the potential shake-up "desperate".

She tweeted: "This is desperate stuff from a tired government, repackaging a plan from 2015.

"Millions of families in the private rented sector with low savings and facing sky high-costs and rising bills, need far more ambitious plans to help them buy their own home.

"These proposals would worsen the shortage of affordable homes."

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: "The hare-brained idea of extending Right to Buy to housing associations is the opposite of what the country needs.

"There could not be a worse time to sell off what remains of our last truly affordable social homes.

"The living cost crisis means more people are on the brink of homelessness than homeownership – nearly 34,000 households in England became homeless between October and December last year, more than 8,000 of them were families with children.

"Right to Buy has already torn a massive hole in our social housing stock as less than 5 per cent of the homes sold off have ever been replaced. These half-baked plans have been tried before and they've failed.

"Over one million households are stuck on social housing waiting lists in England, and with every bill skyrocketing, the government should be building more social homes so we have more not less."

A UK Government spokesperson said: "We want everyone to be given the chance to own a home of their own, and we keep all options to increase home ownership under review.

"Recent statistics show that the annual number of first-time buyers is at a 20 year high, helped by our Help to Buy Scheme for first time buyers and Mortgage Guarantee Scheme to expand the availability of low deposit mortgages."