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Kerslake attacks right-to-buy plan

A former head of the Civil Service is set to publicly denounce criticise David Cameron's controversial plans to extend the Conservatives' flagship right-to-buy scheme to housing association tenants.

Lord Kerslake (formerly Sir Bob Kerslake) - who was the most senior official at the Department of Communities and Local Government until February - will use his maiden speech in the House of Lords on Tuesday to warn that the plan, set out in the Tory general election manifesto, will do nothing to address the housing shortage.

"I will raise my serious concerns about the policy in its current form," he told The Observer.

"I think it's wrong in principle and wrong in practice, and it won't help tackle the urgent need to build more housing and more affordable housing in this country, particularly in London."

Under the Conservative plans, 1.3 million tenants in housing association homes in England will be able to buy their properties at discounts of up to £104,000 in London and more than £77,000 elsewhere.

Ministers say housing associations will be compensated with money raised by forcing local authorities to sell off their most expensive housing stock as it becomes vacant, ensuring that the affordable properties which are sold are replaced.

However the proposals have been widely criticised by housing associations, with many threatening to sue the Government if they are forced to sell.

Housing minister Brandon Lewis said: "More council housing has been built since 2010 than in the previous 13 years.

"However, it is important that councils make the best use of their assets and manage their housing stock as efficiently as possible. So it is right that as high value council homes become empty they should be sold to fund new affordable housebuilding in the same area.

"The proposals in the Queen's Speech will do that and more, extending Right to Buy level discounts to over a million housing association tenants, with the homes sold replaced on a one-for-one basis."


From Belfast Telegraph