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Housing - Labour/Liberals kick tenants off the housing ladder

31st January 2003

Jonathan Djanogly attacks plans to restrict the Right to Buy on council housing.

Jonathan Djanogly, the Member of Parliament for the Huntingdon Constituency, and Councillor Ian Bates, Deputy Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council and Cabinet Member for Strategic Housing, this week attacked Labour plans, supported by the Liberal Democrats, to restrict the Right to Buy on council housing. By contrast, the Conservatives have pledged to make home ownership more accessible to those on low incomes, extending the scope of the Right to Buy across housing association dwellings.

John Prescott announced plans on 22 January to halve Right to Buy discounts in 42 local authority areas, and warned that further restrictions were being considered across the country. Liberal Democrats have also advocted slashing the discounts which make home ownership affordable.

Mr Djanogly explained:

"Labour and Liberal Democrats oppose needy people getting their foot on the housing ladder. The Right to Buy scheme is a popular Conservative initiative that has helped nearly two million tenants of council properties to enjoy the benefits of home ownership. But clamping down on the Right to Buy will do nothing to improve the supply of housing. Tenants will stay put and communities will not benefit from the money that the sales generate. I shall oppose any decision by Mr Prescott to extend this policy to Huntingdonshire."

Councillor Bates added: "Rather than cut back on Right to Buy, we want to extend rights, including to the residents of Huntingdonshire's 9000 housing association dwellings, where such associations have previously benefited from taxpayer funding. Once those residents buy their own homes, we will invest the proceeds of the property sales to build or acquire new affordable housing. Putting this policy into effect across the country alone, could deliver an extra 15,000 affordable houses every single year."

Mr Djanogly said:

"We are already consulting with major housing associations, interest groups and experts to ensure we can deliver the best deal in both rural and urban areas. Conservatives believe everyone should have a place they can call home."

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