Readers of previous blogs know my views in relation to right to buy and I am very much of the view that owning a property in the UK is not only a mark of investment in a community it also increases social cohesion and improves society.   Someone who owns part of their community takes more pride in it.  The problem with the right to buy policy in the 80s was that the discount given was too great and Councils and Housing Associations were not allowed and were not given enough Central Government Support to build more properties.  I would strongly advocate bringing back a right to buy policy with a slightly smaller discount, perhaps capped at a maximum of 50% and spread over a 5 to 7 year period.  I think that this needs to be coupled with a grant basis from Central Government which would mean that every time a Housing Association sold a property they were given appropriate funding to assist in the building of another property.  I also think that steps should be taken to change the valuation basis of Local Authority and Housing Association stock so that these assets can be used to allow Housing Associations to borrow against them and to build more properties.

As well as increasing the amount of social housing being built I think a correct right to buy policy will improve the communities and also help change the view in relation to what type of people social housing is there to help.  I think that social housing as well as helping the poor and deprived will also have to focus in on hard working families and first time buyers who cannot afford to get on the housing ladder.  The right to buy policy will give these people the assistance they require  but also give them the opportunities to develop and move up.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property

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