Tuesday, 01 December 2015

Chancellor set to increase right to buy discounts

The Conservatives have won their battle with Liberal Democrat colleagues over the right to buy, with discounts set to be increased to £100,000 in London, according to reports.

Inside Housing reported last week that ministers from the two sides of the coalition government were locked in discussions over housing policy, with the Tories pushing for an increase in right to buy discounts.

The Evening Standard has now reported that discounts will be raised to £100,000 in the capital to reflect the high cost of property.

Other reports suggest chancellor George Osborne told cabinet colleagues they must cut their departmental budgets by £2.5 billion over the next two years, at a meeting this morning. The money is expected to be reinvested in capital projects, although it is not yet clear if housing will benefit.

The government relaunched the right to buy in March 2012, offering increased discounts of up to £75,000 and promising to ensure a new affordable home was built for every property sold. The latest figures on right to buy sales, published last month, show there were 3,495 sales in the first three quarters of 2012/13. This compares with 3,720 during the whole of 2011/12.

Conservative-led Hammersmith & Fulham said raising the discount to £100,000 would ensure the scheme would ‘truly take-off’.

Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for housing, said: ‘A £100,000 discount could make the difference to thousands of decent, hard-working Londoners who could not otherwise even dream of owning a home.

‘Now it’s the time for the chancellor to grab the right to buy bull by the horns and unleash a new generation of homeownership in the capital.’

A spokesperson for the Communities and Local Government department said they could not comment on specific policies ahead of the Budget, but that the department is committed to the principle of one for one replacement of homes sold through the right to buy.

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