Prime minister Boris Johnson is reportedly mullinh plans to bring in a new Right to Buy scheme, inspired by Margaret Thatcher, amid reports housebuilding has hit the curb.
The plans seek to target “generation rent”, those whose hopes of owning a home have fallen increasingly out of reach despite being ‘of age’ to buy.
It would see around 2.5m households in England offered to buy the homes they rent from housing associations at a discounted price, The Telegraph first reported.
“The prime minister has got very excited about this. It could be hugely significant,” one government source familiar with the discussions told the newspaper. “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’.”
Outside of the capital, Downing Street hopes it will help poorer households in traditional Labour “Red Wall” seats in the Midlands and North East, which Johnson turned Blue in the 2019 election.
The pledge was previously included in the 2015 Tory election manifesto, but the plan lost steam after Theresa May replaced David Cameron as prime minister following the 2016 Brexit referendum.
A trickling supply of housing stock, as well as global raw material inflation, has seen the price of a home explode in recent years.
“The last time this initiative was rolled out across the UK in the 80s, it gave millions of people the opportunity to have financial security for the rest of their lives,” CEO of London estate agents Chestertons, Guy Gittins, told City A.M.
“However, this initiative must go hand-in-hand with local authorities being able to build more affordable housing, as the population continues to grow. We must also learn from the lessons taught during the 80s to ensure that tenants can’t buy and sell in a short space of time simply to gain a quick financial windfall which led to inflated prices and actually made the housing crisis worse.”
Average house prices have risen from £265,312 to £267,620 – up 0.3 per cent since last month, according to the Nationwide House Price Index, after taking account of seasonal effects. The average rents have also grown by the equivalent of £125 this month, according to rent-tech platform Goodlord.
Up to 100,000 new homes across Norfolk, Hampshire, Devon and the North East have stopped construction after a ban was imposed by environment watchdog Natural England, The Times first reported.
The move may translate to rising prices in the housing market and could scupper the government’s pledge to build 300,000 new homes a year.
A government spokesperson said: “We want to protect the environment and deal with the build-up of nutrient pollution whist building the homes this country needs.
“While house building is not the primary cause of nutrient build up, we want to introduce measures quickly to allow development to move forward.”