Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps unveils right to buy for council house tenants

PUBLISHED: 12:53 28 October 2011

Grant Shapps  MP

Grant Shapps MP


PLANS for a return to the ‘right to buy’ for council house tenants have been unveiled by housing minister and Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps.

Mr Shapps lauded the project as “attractive” for the people of Welwyn Hatfield.

The plan will involve selling off 100,000 council houses and using the cash to build more affordable homes.

He told the WHT: “People can achieve their aims of owning their own home and others can get off the waiting list.”

He said the scheme would appeal particularly to Welwyn Hatfield tenants because “we have good housing stock and a lot of it wasn’t sold back in the 80s and 90s”.

Right to buy was a massive vote-winner when first unveiled in 1980 under Margaret Thatcher, in a drive to put a generation of never-before-homeowners onto the property ladder.

But Welwyn Hatfield Labour leader Kieran Thorpe, himself a council house tenant, slammed the scheme.

He said: “Grant should be clear that these proposals ‘promise’ to replace each home cheaply sold off with a property based on his new ‘affordable’ rent model which is anything but.

“It’s unclear exactly where these new homes will be built, by whom, and with what money.”

He added: “As ever with this ill-thought policy, the short-term gain to the individual will result in a longer-term problem for the local community.”

Cllr Thorpe said the current housing crisis was “in no short measure down to the lack of council housing”.

And he said: “It provides a huge rent receipts back to the Government, and with an impending £300m of debt coming Welwyn Hatfield’s way as part of the national restructuring, we should be retaining these important assets, not looking to sell them off.

“It would go against everything I stand for and believe.”

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