HUNDREDS OF council houses in Thurrock could be sold to their tenants under Government plans to revive Margaret Thatcher’s landmark ‘Right to Buy’ scheme.
Ministers are to offer heavy discounts – worth up to 50 per cent – in a bid to persuade people to buy their homes. The proceeds will then be ploughed back directly into building new homes in the area.
The Government hopes that the new drive could result in another 100,000 homes being built around the country, creating 200,000 jobs.
The move will be formally announced by David Cameron and Nick Clegg on Monday, when they will also reveal further measures to kick-start the housing market reports the Daily Mail.
There will be targeted help for first-time buyers, in which the government will partially underwrite mortgages worth up to 95 per cent of a home’s value.
Mr Cameron told the Conservative Party conference last month: ‘We’re saying let’s bring back the right to buy your council house with proper discounts that Labour got rid of, and let’s use that money as young people choose to buy their council home, let’s use that money to build homes for rent, for low rents for families that are currently stuck on the housing list.
‘You know over two million homes, I think, are still available to be bought. So this is something that can make a big difference.’
The original Right to Buy scheme of the 1980s was one of the most popular policies of the Thatcher era.
Generous discounts of up to 60 per cent were offered, encouraging some two million homes tenants to buy their own council homes between 1980 and 1998.
Slim pickings: John Prescott had continued the scheme when Labour were in power but discounts were capped at £38,000
Although the scheme continued under Labour, the level of discount was capped by John Prescott at a maximum of £38,000. Last year just 3,690 homes were sold under the scheme.
It is expected that long-term tenants could now qualify for discounts of about 50 per cent, so that a tenant could buy a home worth £120,000 for just £60,000.
Local authorities will be required to replace every council house sold on a ‘one for one basis’.
Limits will also be set to ensure that council tenants living in fashionable areas were not turned into overnight ‘millionaires’.
Mr Cameron will also confirm that thousands of acres of publicly-owned land are to be released by the Government for house building, which has fallen to the lowest level since the 1920s.
Up to 100,000 homes are expected to be built under the scheme, which is designed to support growth and improve affordability in the housing market.
Cash-strapped developers will be given the opportunity to pay for the land later, when properties are sold, thereby by-passing the lack of upfront finance.
About 7,000 acres of land are involved, most of which has been previously developed.