The Right to Buy will be extended by the UK government in a new Housing Bill. 
The Bill, which will be announced as part of David Cameron's Queen's Speech on 27th May, will form part of the new policies that will underpin the Conservative  Party's term in office, following a majority win in the general election.

"Our Housing Bill will offer over a million people a helping hand onto the housing ladder," says Communities Secretary Greg Clark. "That is what a government for working people is about – making sure people have the security they need to build a brighter future for them and their families."

More than 200,000 households have been helped to buy a home since 2010 through government-backed schemes. New measures will include plans to build 200,000 "Starter Homes", which will be available at a 20 per cent discount to first-time buyers under the age of 40. A "Right to Build" will also increase housing supply by allowing people to be allocated land with planning persission for either self-building or the commissioning of a local builder to construct a property.

At the centre of the Housing Bill is the controversial extension of Right to Buy, which will give 1.3 million housing association tenants the same right as council housing tenants to purchase their home at a discount.

Reaction to the policy has been mixed, with many experts concerned about the reduction of housing supply as a result of the purchases, which would leave the country with fewer affordable homes.

"The market now is fundamentally different to that of 1980," wrote David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, in a blog post on the subject last year. "We have a huge need to build new homes and to regenerate some areas of economic challenge and market collapse. Despite the government’s promise that the new rules for RTB would deliver one new home for every one sold, in fact we are building less than one new for every 7 sold."

The government says that receipts from selling an owner’s current property will help build replacement affordable homes on a one-for-one basis. This means the number of homes across all tenures will effectively double for each home sold, increasing national housing supply and creating a new affordable home for those in need from each sale.

Housing charity Shelter notes that 863 social rented homes have been sold in Greater Manchester since 2012, but so far only two have been replaced.

Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter, comments: "You simply cannot solve this problem by selling off affordable homes, not replacing them, and ignoring the country's eleven million renters. The government talks about providing a helping hand to people wanting to get on the ladder, but in reality, they're giving with one hand and taking with the other. Getting on the housing ladder is beginning to look less about the product of your hard work and more like the product of a lottery."
 
"This housing bill should be the point where the government gets serious and actually deliver the homes we need, or the amount of young adults owning a home could halve by 2020," he adds, "and many more people will find it harder to rent somewhere decent and affordable."

Photo: Steve Cadman

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