Before the leadership election was called, the Government under Boris Johnson, announced that it was considering whether to extend the Right to Buy policy to the circa 2.5 million people currently living in housing association properties. Under the new Prime Minister Liz Truss, we are yet to see if this will be enacted.
The National Pensioners Convention opposes the Government's plan to solve the “housing crisis” by rehashing the plan for housing association tenants to be able to purchase their homes.
It is a dangerous diversion from the real poverty issues being faced by pensioners due to the cost-of-living crisis and the lowest pensions of the thirty-eight countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, being less than half of the OECD average.
Apart from the properties being lost from the stock of vitally needed social housing, and whilst this proposed policy furthers the Governments ideology of home ownership, It is prejudicial for older people, particularly older women, and those from BAME and LGBT communities, as the policy will in the main only benefit the median to higher earning working population.
Older people, those on benefits and low incomes would find it hard to provide a deposit when they are no longer in the labour market and with hundreds of millions living in the fixed low-income bracket, they are already struggling to pay their bills.
There are also the issues of the costs of the on-going maintenance of the property and the problem as to what would happen should the older person need to move to residential care. Would the HA take back the property? Would the property be regarded as 'property disregard' if the 'mortgage' had not been repaid? No thought seems to have been given to this policy and any subsequent consequences.
Jan Short General Secretary of the NPC said “what more evidence do we need to show to show that right- to-buy has been used to shift vital needed social housing towards the much higher priced private rentals when evidence from its own Commons communities and local government select committee in 2016 found that Forty percent of ex-council flats sold from the right to buy are now being rented out more expensively by profit seeking private landlords”
“That less than 5 per cent of the homes sold were ever replaced with new affordable homes to rent. We do not need to see a repetition of these disastrous right to buy policies being used to deprive homes for those on housing association waiting lists.
Given the huge inflation in housing prices, those able to take advantage of any Right to Buy scheme now are already those with a significant degree of financial backing. The discount available is £116,200 in London while the average house price in the capital is in excess of £500,000, for example.
Instead with over two million households predicted by “the local government association” to be stuck on council and social housing waiting lists in England by the end of this year, the government should be building more social housing instead of funding the “right to buy” through taxpayer's money.
No more pensioners and the vulnerable in our society should die from not being able to afford the excessive fuel bills keep warm in cold homes, the government needs to provide funding to retrofit homes and invest in sustainable sources of energy for all.
All older people need genuinely Affordable, safe, and warm homes to live, it is a “human Right” that should be the focus of any government”