"Wouldn't it make more sense to just give the aspiring home owner a lump some to go and buy an already privatised property, or even a new build, generating business activity in the building sector and leaving a valuable social home for reallocation"
Spot on F451 however that would only be sensible if the intention was to retain or increase council housing whereas the government's intentions are clearly to dispose of this valuable national asset at a high discount (and massive cost to the taxpayer). Your idea would mean a cashflow out of government funds whereas their idea is a cashflow into government funds taking the short term view.
Council Housing is the cash cow for government and the HRA reform is just another attempt to squeeze even more funds out of local government. Bear in mind that government do not count the £Billions of 75% RTB receipts as payment against the national housing debt so it's a case of double counting. I hope that the LAs pull the plug on this one because I am concerned that it will cripple the ability of LAs to one day build more council housing which is so badly needed.