Boris Johnson has told officials to draw up plans over the past fortnight to help the ‘annuitant generation’ get a foot on the housing ladder. The proposal aims to support 2.5 million households in England who rent properties from housing associations by allowing them to buy their homes at a reduced price.
In addition, billions of pounds paid out by the government in housing benefits could be used to help recipients secure mortgages.
The program was included in the Conservatives’ 2015 election manifesto, but was reviewed ahead of local elections on May 5.
A government source told the Telegraph the plans had been under consideration for several weeks.
They said: “The Prime Minister has become very excited about this. This could be extremely important.
“In many ways it’s a direct replication of Maggie’s big idea: ‘Buy your own social flat’. It’s ‘Buy Your Own Housing Association Apartment’.
A similar policy was introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1980 allowing council tenants to buy their properties at reduced rates, bringing a wave of social mobility.
The scheme could help the Tories achieve their goals, but Labor called the plan “desperate”.
The chief executive of homeless charity Shelter, Polly Neate, said the policy was a “wacky idea” and was “the opposite of what the country needs”.
She said: “There couldn’t be a worse time to sell what’s left of our last really affordable social housing. »
Mr Neate said the original right to buy scheme had left a “huge hole” in the social housing stock in England, with less than 5% of properties sold having been replaced by affordable rental accommodation.
She added: “These half-baked plans have been tried before and they failed.
“Over a million households are stuck on waiting lists for social housing in England, and with every bill soaring the government should be building more social housing so we have more not less. »
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