British Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg are set to announce new measures to revive Margaret Thatcher’s popular ‘Right to Buy’ scheme. This could enable up to 2 million social housing properties to be sold to their tenants at heavy discounts.
The government wants to encourage current tenants to buy their own homes, and all proceeds from the sale of social housing will go directly towards building new homes in the area. It is hoped this could result in as many as 100,000 new homes being built which would create 200,000 new jobs. The discounts offered to tenants could be as much as 50%.
The original scheme was extremely popular as it offered tenants discounts of up to 60%, encouraging some 2 million tenants to buy their homes between 1980 and 1998. Although it was never actually discontinued the level of discounts was capped by John Prescott during the Labour government, and just 3,690 homes were sold in 2010 under the scheme. The new scheme will also include limits to ensure tenants living in fashionable areas cannot become millionaires overnight through purchasing their home.
Local authorities will be obliged to replace every home sold with a brand-new property. Additional measures to be announced by the government include the release of thousands of acres of publicly owned land for new building in an effort to help the construction industry, as house building is now at its lowest level since the 1920s.
It is expected this scheme will help improve availability and affordability within the housing market, especially as developers will not need to purchase the land before building, but will be able to repay land costs once the homes have been sold. An estimated around 7,000 acres of land will be involved in the scheme, most of which has already been developed.