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Sell council homes on eBay, say MPs

Council tenants should be able to buy their homes via eBay, MPs said.

Putting the "Right To Buy" scheme on well-known online shopping sites was one way to boost "digital engagement", they suggested.

Other initiatives suggested for promotion via supermarket websites and retailers like Amazon were the new "help to buy" mortgage guarantee and the Green Deal home energy-efficiency package.

"In order to use digital technology effectively in open policy-making, digital experts within the civil service and outside should work more closely with policy teams to explore opportunities for digital engagement," the Commons public administration select committee said.

"For example, the Department of Energy and Climate Change could trial the use of eBay, Amazon and supermarket websites to open up the Green Deal and allow residents to access this offer through established retail channels.

"The same approach could be tried using the Right To Buy, and the Help To Buy programmes," the report concluded.

The move was among ideas put forward by the committee in a report about better extending the policy-making process to the wider public.

It welcomed the Government's commitment to "open" policy making but said it must be based on a "wiki" basis - with input taken at every stage of the process not only after a position has been agreed as with traditional "consultations".

Social media and other digital sources would have a significant role to play in that, the MPs said, though they cautioned the Government was already at risk of excluding older and disabled people by giving it too much prominence.

Backing the push for more open policy making, as well as the "contested" process where outside bodies bid for cash to lead development on particular areas, the MPs said there was "great potential... to deliver genuine public engagement".

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