The Conservatives have announced the highly controversial extension of the right-to-buy scheme.
The party confirmed that housing association tenants will be given the opportunity to buy their homes at a significant discount, despite major opposition from pressure groups.
The measure will appear in the Conservatives’ first Queen’s Speech since winning the election by a slim majority. It is expected that up to one million first-time buyers will benefit from the scheme.
But the extension of right-to-buy to housing association tenants has been fiercely opposed by housing groups, who insist that it will further reduce the country’s affordable housing stock.
Normally Conservative newspapers have also criticised the proposals, with the Telegraph calling them “economically illiterate and morally wrong.”
Critics suggest that the government will struggle to force housing associations to sell properties that the state doesn’t own. They also claim that successive governments have failed to replace stock that has moved into private hands through right-to-buy, and that the extension of the scheme will therefore exacerbate the affordable housing crisis.
Housing charity Shelter also say that the scheme will only be funded through the £4.5 billion sale of valuable council homes outside the right-to-buy scheme – a proposal that they describe as “selling off two affordable homes for the price of one.”
Meanwhile it is now expected that the Queen’s Speech will also include a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, and further devolution of powers to English cities.