The Report

Right to Buy

Nov. 20, 2014

In the 1980s, Right to Buy was one of the landmark successes of Margaret Thatcher's government, enabling millions of council tenants to buy their own home at a discounted price. The policy changed the financial fortunes of a generation. Since coming to power in 2010, David Cameron's government has reinvigorated the totemic Tory policy, by reinstating big discounts previously withdrawn under Labour - today, some tenants can get over £100,000 off the price of their home. There are some changes to the policy, too: for the first time, the government has pledged to replace homes sold under Right to Buy on a one-for-one basis - but is this target being met? Councils and housing associations tell The Report they don't have the funds to replace homes quickly enough. The programme also hears allegations that opportunist investors are taking advantage of the big discounts now on offer. Not everyone is happy with the revival of Right to Buy - in Scotland, MSPs have voted in favour of bringing Right to Buy to an end, and in North London, Enfield Council has devised a scheme to opt out of selling its newly-acquired housing stock. Meanwhile, the government has plans to make it even easier for tenants to buy their home, adamant that the policy is a vital tool in enabling low-income families to to fulfil their economic aspirations - but with 1.8m households on the social housing waiting list, can the UK afford to keep selling off valuable social housing stock off on the cheap? CONTRIBUTORS INCLUDE: Brandon Lewis MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning Julian Fulbrook, Labour Councillor, Camden Council Catherine Ryder, Head of Policy, The National Housing Federation Dr Peter King, Reader in Social Thought, De Montfort University Nick Atkin, Chief Executive, Halton Housing Trust Andrew Stafford, Labour Councillor, Enfield Council & Chair, Housing Gateway Reporter: Peter Marshall Producer: Richard Fenton-Smith.

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