Friday, 27 March 2015

Government raises right to buy discounts

The government will offer increased discounts of up to £75,000 to council tenants who want to purchase their homes when it launches its reinvigorated right to buy scheme today.

The discounts are higher than the £50,000 maximum that was widely expected to be put in place after the publication of a consultation on the scheme last December.

A statement on the discounts is expected from prime minister David Cameron and housing minister Grant Shapps later this morning.

Last month, the Chartered Institute of Housing wrote to Mr Shapps calling for the discount cap to be raised, while suggesting that the percentage discount offered to tenants be lowered to ensure the policy has the same effect across the country while still delivering one-for-one replacement housing.

However, in percentage terms, the discounts are expected to stay the same as outlined in the preferred option in December’s consultation, with tenants able to claim up to 60 per cent off the price of their home, up to the cap, depending on their length of residency.

Abigail Davies, assistant director of policy and practice at the CIH, said: ‘It does sound like they have more or less taken on what we have said, but we need to wait to see the detail.

‘It looks like they have been brave enough to step away from saying it has to be a maximum of £50,000.’

The money raised from right to buy sales will be committed to building replacement affordable homes, but councils have expressed concern that increased discounts might leave them struggling to deliver these replacements.

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