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Right to buy scheme discounts to be doubled

The Times reports (£) that the discounts available under the Right to Buy scheme are to be doubled.

It says:

The average £26,000 discount for a council home would jump to about £52,000. But tenants in London and the South East would save larger sums under the scheme, initiated in 1980 by Margaret Thatcher.

The current right-to-buy scheme has a cap of £38,000 but this is expected to rise to £76,000 in areas with the highest house prices. The average price for a London council home was £162,630 last year. Councils will have discretion over the discounts but must spend the money raised on new social housing.

Excellent news. Although in boroughs like mine council tenants would often need to be earning a lot to be able to afford to buy even with the £76,000 discount. The Times makes the point that the decline of right to buy sales was not just due to the John Prescott capping the discount but also "because council estates have been increasingly used to house the unemployed."

Allowing councils to choose whether to offer the bigger discounts is in the spirit of localism. Some left wing Lib Dem and Labour councils might refuse to offer the full discounts. But then they would face being punished at the polls by the large number of their council tenants who have the aspiration for home ownership.


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