Manifesto Watch: Conservatives to offer Right to Buy extension, helping 1.3m families buy their homes

Posted 14 April 2015

The Conservatives are set to put property at the heart of their manifesto today with the announcement of an extention of the Right to Buy policy, which they claim will help a further 1.3 million families. 

There will also be a second big housing announcement, with the Prime Minister set to promise a £1bn fund for building 400,000 new homes on brownfield sites. 

Announcing his election pledges later today in Wiltshire, Mr Cameron will say: "At the heart of this manifesto is a simple proposition. We are the party of working people, offering you security at every stage of your life."

The Thatcherite Right to Buy policy was originally introduced in 1980 and allows people to purchase their home at a discount. It has so far been available only to those in council homes, with some housing association tenants accessing the weaker "right to acquire" and some having no rights at all.

Under the new plans they will all be able to apply for the main scheme, which can lead to a discount of up to 70%.

The Conservatives plan to fund the Brownfield Regeneration Fund and the replacement of properties sold under Right to Buy by requiring local authorities to manage their housing assets more efficiently.

They would also have to sell their most expensive properties - which could raise as much as £4.5bn a year - and replace them in the same area with normal affordable housing as they fall vacant. Ministers claim this will lead to the sale and replacement of about 15,000 homes a year.

Mr Cameron will add: "Conservatives have dreamed of building a property-owning democracy for generations. The next Conservative government will extend the Right to Buy to all housing association tenants in this country; 1.3 million extra families; a new generation given the security of a home of their own."

Emma Reynolds, Labour’s shadow housing minister, said: "Having exhausted the magic money tree, the Tories now want people to believe that they can magic up billions of pounds a year from selling off a few council homes. Under David Cameron homeownership is at its lowest point for three decades - there are over 200,000 fewer homeowners since 2010."

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