National Housing Federation chief: "Extending right-to-buy is the daftest idea I've heard"

 
Emma Haslett
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Tenants of the Trellick Tower in West London jumped at the chance to buy their homes in the 1980s (Source: Getty)

Will the Tories' flagship manifesto policy encounter more of a backlash than they had expected? The housing sector is less than supportive, if a blog by National Housing Federation chief David Orr is anything to go by, in which he calls rumours the Conservatives will attempt to extend right-to-buy "a genuinely stupid idea".

The blog, which was written back in February in response to reports of plans to extend the scheme, slammed it as a "hollow joke".

"Of all the daft ideas I've heard in a career in housing, this is the daftest," said Orr.

He used the example of Phoenix Community Housing, which, because of preserved right-to-buy discounts, was forced to sell a home worth £210,000 on the open market "for just over half that".

"From the proceeds, some went back to the Treasury, some to the local authority - leaving a receipt of just £27,000. Have you tried building a new home for £27,000?"

We’ll be told, of course, that opposing right-to-buy is to oppose aspiration. This is rubbish. Over the last decade, housing associations have sold 82,000 shared ownership properties and continue to develop new homes across all tenures so that we can meet the aspirations of as many people as possible to have a decent, affordable home. We have to keep our eye on the prize.
Orr isn't the only one to criticise the plans: this morning analyst Louise Cooper pointed out that the scheme fails to address the underlying problem of the housing crisis.
"[In the eighties] right-to-buy boosted house prices, helping the economic recovery but making the housing affordability problem worse. Its successor... is an outright bribe."
Will this hurt the Conservatives' chances? Check out City A.M.'s General Election poll tracker here.

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