The Queen's Speech confirmed that the Government will introduce
a Housing Bill in the forthcoming Parliamentary session to extend
the Right to Buy to housing association tenants and require
councils to dispose of high value stock to fund the policy.
The DCLG has issued a
press release stating that the Bill will also
introduce a Right to Build and pave the way for a Starter Homes
initiative by waiving planning obligations on brownfield sites to
enable developers to offer a 20% discount on new homes for first
time buyers under 40.
Interestingly, in comparison to the press release that
accompanied the announcement of the extension of RTB in the
Conservative Party Manifesto, the wording in the background
briefing to the Queen's
Speech says the requirement on councils to dispose of
high value council housing "would help fund" the RTB extension and
the building of more affordable homes in the area.
This seems to reflect the concerns expressed by ARCH and others
that there are significant uncertainties around the revenues that
can be achieved through the forced sales of high value council
housing and that this may not be sufficient to fund the extension
of RTB and the promised one for one replacement of any properties
sold. It remains to be seen just how much the policy of extending
RTB to housing associations will cost and exactly where the money
is coming from in a time of austerity.