Inside Housing magazine recently described the proposed extension of the Right to Buy to housing association tenants as one of the government’s ‘Zombie’ policies as ministers have no idea whatsoever how they will pay for this expensive policy that will do nothing to address the problem of supply and affordability of housing.
Sky News reported that the policy “has barely got off the ground” and that ministers have even considered dropping the policy which appeared in the 2015 Conservative Party manifesto but was absent from the manifesto for this year’s general election. Only 55 sales have been completed in a tiny number of pilot areas. (In my opinion, that is 55 sales too many).
This is a good example of ‘back of an envelope’ policy making that has become so common in housing in recent years, with the consequences so obvious for all to see. The government gave housing associations just one week to sign up to this ‘voluntary’ initiative. Government at its worst, presenting a populist agenda but failing to have the ability to deliver, disappointing all in the process.
The fact that the National Housing Federation went along with government was a low point for the NHF and its chief executive, David Orr. BHT voiced its opposition at the time, both to the policy and the way it was being imposed. On 25th September 2015 I posted ‘The National Housing Federation should be ashamed to be party to this Right to Buy agreement’.
I think the government should announce that the policy is dead in the water and apologise for wasting time and money on it. The NHF should also apologise for its collusion.