One of David Cameron’s former cabinet ministers has described the Right to Buy scheme extension as Robert Mugabe politics.
Ed Davey, an ex-Liberal Democrat MP who was Energy Secretary in the 2010 coalition cabinet, criticised the proposal, which will force housing associations to sell off homes.
Former Energy Secretary Calls Right to Buy Extension ‘Mugabe Politics’
At the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth, Davey said: “The Tory policy of selling housing associations is Mugabe. That’s not acceptable, it’s shameful.”1
Housing associations are private, not-for-profit landlords that manage social housing. The organisations house people off the social housing waiting list, but also let properties on the open market.
Opponents have said it is wrong to force the private organisations to sell their homes at a discount.
Last week, David Cameron wrongly said housing associations are “part of the public sector”1.
Housing associations borrow against the value of future homes to fund building projects, and they insist the extension will affect their ability to raise finances and build new properties. Some claim they will challenge the scheme in the courts if plans go ahead.
In April, the Institute for Fiscal Studies states that the extension will likely cause higher Government debt and result in fewer homes being built.
It said: “Given this uncertainty, and the coalition’s less-than-impressive record in delivering replacement social housing under the existing Right to Buy, there is a risk that these policies will lead to a further depletion of the social housing stock – something the proposal explicitly seeks to avoid.”1
Right to Buy was launched in the 1980s as a way of making homeownership more widely available.
However, many homes bought through the scheme have ended up being let back to tenants by the private landlords that purchased them.
Figures from August reveal that private landlords are now renting out almost 40% of properties sold through the scheme. Additionally, just one in ten homes sold under Right to Buy are actually being replaced, despite the Government vowing to replace the houses one-for-one.
The Government insists that the policy gives more people the opportunity to own their own homes.