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No mention of HVA Levy in Conservative Manifesto 25/05/2017

The extension of a Right to Buy (RTB) to housing association tenants to be funded by a high value asset (HVA) levy on stock retaining councils featured prominently in the 2015 Conservative Manifesto but is conspicuous by its absence from the Party's 2017 Manifesto.


There is no specific mention in the 2017 Conservative Party Manifesto of the extension of a RTB to housing association tenants struck under the voluntary deal with the National Housing Federation and housing associations. This has led to speculation in some quarters that the idea of a HVA levy may be quietly dropped, however the Manifesto does make a commitment to"continue to support those struggling to buy or rent a home, including those living in a home owned by a housing association".


The statutory powers to implement the voluntary deal to be funded by a levy on stock retained councils (based on an assumption of the likely capital receipts from the sale of so called "higher value" housing stock) are contained in the Housing and Planning Act 2016; and prior to the announcement of the snap general election, Ministers had announced an extended regional pilot of the voluntary RTB deal and confirmed that local authorities would not be expected to pay a levy in the 2017/18 financial year.


Irrespective of the merits or otherwise of a policy of extending the RTB to housing association tenants, the proposal to fund the policy by forcing councils to sell off higher value council housing as they become vacant is not popular with most stock retained councils. The Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee recommended in a recent report that any extension of the RTB to housing association tenants should be funded by Central Government rather than through a high value levy on local authorities.


If a Conservative Government is re-elected, ARCH will continue to press its call for the new government to accept the recommendation of the CLG Select Committee and to abandon the idea of a HVA levy on local authorities.

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