I have been greatly concerned about the recent announcement to extend the Right to Buy scheme to social housing providers.
We discussed this issue at our last Independent Group think-tank discussion and concluded the announcement was probably to make (or divert) headlines, and to make money for government as they take their share of the proceeds of any sale.
What social housing provider is going to want to invest in building new houses if they are then forced to sell them at well below market rates, stripping them of their assets?
“Everyone should have a decent home they can afford”
And what about community-led housing schemes such as community land trusts? Everyone should have a decent home they can afford.
There can be real benefits to renting through a housing association, not least because of the support services that are available.
It would appear the Government is encouraging more people on lower incomes to borrow money at a time when interest rates and inflation are rising, and to take on the ever increasing costs of running and maintaining a property. We see cases of that cost being often underestimated, resulting in some poorly maintained properties, or bank reclaimations and homelessness.
Many people might find themselves better off with fewer financial obligations by renting rather than being owners, with the additional burden of paying for maintenance and structural repairs.
We need homes that are energy efficient, well looked after and affordable for more people to live in, not schemes that could take homes away from those most in need.