One million more tenants would get the right to buy

The Tories promised yesterday to give one million housing association tenants the right to buy their homes with big discounts as the party tried to rediscover the populist appeal of Margaret Thatcher.

David Davis, who shadows the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, delighted the Tory conference by announcing a radical extension of the flagship scheme which enabled the Thatcher government to win the support of many working class voters.

Mr Davis pledged that housing associations could keep the proceeds from the sale of the homes to plough back into building or buying houses and flats for low-income tenants.

The existing right-to-buy scheme does not apply to most housing association tenants and the Tories said many do not buy or rent privately because their rents are subsidised. They argued that it would be a good use of public money to allow the tenants to buy their properties and to spend the receipts on providing more homes.

Under the Tory plan, housing association tenants may receive bigger discounts than the maximum £38,000 available to council tenants. A consultation paper will be pub- lished on Monday.

Mr Davis told the conference: "The right-to-buy scheme is a popular Conservative initiative that has helped nearly two million tenants of council properties to enjoy the benefits of home ownership.

"Expanding the scheme will reverse an alarming trend which has seen the quantity of new social housing plummet by 29 per cent since Labour came to office. The fall has only contributed to the housing crisis."

He said the right to buy was "a lottery" because 95 per cent of housing association tenants came from council lists. "So if they get a council house they get a right to buy. If they get a housing association home they are denied that right to buy."

Mr Davis invoked the slogan of his campaign for the Tory leadership last year by hailing his plan as an example of "practical, modern Conservatism in action". He also pledged to oppose plans being drawn up by the Government to restrict the rights of council tenants to buy their homes to curb abuses such as tenants profiteering from regeneration schemes.

"The contrast with Labour couldn't be more stark," he said. "They want to take away the right to buy. We want to extend it. They want to see fewer homeowners. We want to see more. They want to lock people into dependency. We want to set them free."

In a response last night, Lord Rooker, the Housing minister, said the Tory plan would be "extremely damaging" to public sector workers in need of affordable homes. He said: "Privatisation of housing association stock is not an answer to the widespread need for more affordable housing. Selling off housing association homes would be extremely damaging and do nothing to encourage an affordable and sustainable housing market."

Jim Coulter, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: "We need more, not fewer, affordable homes. Extending the right to buy would not achieve that. This policy announcement is a distraction from the real job of providing resources for affordable homes."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test