The wheels are already coming off the Tories’ new ‘sell off all the social housing worth selling’ manifesto pledge.
It turns out the policy is undermined by the government’s own figures, hardly surprising given the experience of housing associations that have retained right-to-buy (National Housing Federation chief exec David Orr):
“Phoenix Community Housing in London recently sold a home worth £210,000 on the open market for just over half of that. From the proceeds, some went back to the Treasury, some to the local authority leaving a receipt of just £27,000. Have you tried building a new home for £27,000?
It threatens to make the underlying housing crisis worse (City analyst Louise Cooper):
“Thatcher’s Right To Buy policy was very popular in the 80s … However like most of the Tory policies on housing, it does not deal with the underlying problem. Right To Buy boosted house prices, helping the economic recovery but making the housing affordability problem worse. Its successor – Right To Buy – is an outright bribe.
And forget Thatcher, the policy is actually re-heated from Michael ‘something of the night Howard (Newsnight editor Ian Katz):
"A Conservative Government will extend this right to tenants of housing associations" – 2005 Conservative manifesto http://t.co/Tu3arTz5nJ
— Ian Katz (@iankatz1000) April 14, 2015
Perhaps this is an appropriate moment to dust off Ginny Dougary’s May 2009 profile of David Cameron:
I mention the four houses: “The four properties thing is rubbish. Touching that you believe everything you read in the newspapers!” You patronising git, I exclaim.
“I don’t mean it like that, but…” So how many properties do you own? “I own a house in North Kensington which you’ve been to and my house in the constituency in Oxfordshire and that is, as far as I know, all I have.”
A house in Cornwall? “No, that is, Samantha used to have a timeshare in South Devon but she doesn’t any more.” And there isn’t a fourth? “I don’t think so – not that I can think of.”
The new housing policy … from the bloke that doesn’t know how many houses he owns.