New social housing plan would give tenants right to buy 1% of their home each year
Social housing tenants will be given the right to buy as little as 1% of their council homes each year in a bid to boost home ownership, ministers have announced.
The Government says the new ownership plans set out in its long-awaited social housing green paper would offer tenants a “springboard” onto the housing ladder and could boost home ownership rates across the UK. Labour has dismissed the plan as "pitiful".
Currently, tenants wishing to buy a stake in their home are required to pay a minimum 10% stake in the property, making it an unaffordable step for many people.
Under the new proposals, tenants will also be given “sharper teeth” to take on rogue landlords, with a sped-up complaints procedure and better access to effective dispute resolution.
Other measures include the creation of a league table for landlords and housing providers, a move ministers claim would "rebalance the landlord/tenant relationship to hold bad practice to account".
Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said the new measures would "improve fairness, quality and safety for residents".
"Providing high quality and well managed social housing is a core priority for this government," he said.
"Our green paper offers a landmark opportunity for major reform to improve fairness, quality and safety for residents living in social housing across the country.
"Regardless of whether you own your own home or rent, residents deserve security, dignity and the opportunities to build a better life.”
But critics have slammed the long-awaited plan for failing to make any new commitment to provide new homes for people on low incomes.
Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey blasted the "pitiful" proposals, saying it showed the Government had "run out of ideas on housing"
"Nothing in this Green Paper measures up to the scale of the housing crisis," he said.
"The number of new social rented homes is at a record low but there is no new money to increase supply, and ministers are still preventing local authorities run by all parties from building the council homes their communities need.
"After eight years of failure on housing, ministers should back Labour’s long-term plan for a million new genuinely affordable homes over ten years.”
Meanwhile, the chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Campbell Robb, said the government risked "failing a generation" after refusing to commit to build new affordable homes.
He added: "Against a backdrop of rising food bank use, families on low incomes will continue to face impossible choices about whether to pay the rent or put food on the table."
Shelter’s chief executive Polly Neate said the plan was "full of warm words but doesn’t commit a single extra penny towards building the social homes needed by the 1.2 million people on the waiting list".
Ministers had originally vowed to publish the green paper before the parliamentary recess, but it did not emerge ahead of the summer break.