The National Housing Federation has called on the Government to allow its planned extension to the Right to Buy to be voluntary for housing associations.
If the Government agrees, it will represent a step back from one of the Conservatives’ manifesto promises, which would have forced housing associations to sell their properties to tenants at a discount.
The plans have proved controversial, with the Office for Budget Responsibility suggesting the move could see the organisations reclassified as public sector, adding up to £60bn to the national debt.
But the NHF has argued by making the scheme voluntary, the independence of the sector would be maintained.
National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr says: “I am confident that our membership will see this is a good proposal: one that’s good for housing associations and their tenants. Housing association households could get the opportunity to realise their dreams of homeownership, and housing associations would be able to replace the homes sold, boosting the nation’s housing supply.
“It also means housing associations could retain the independence which has allowed them to channel billions of pounds in private investment into home building over the last 30 years.”
He adds: “Housing associations have always been committed to helping their tenants get on in life, whether that’s finding a job or buying their first home. So we are urging our members to sign up to work with government to deliver this new Right to Buy proposal.”
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Greg Clark will now consider the plans.
A DCLG spokesman says:“We want to help anyone who works hard and aspires to own their own home turn their dream into a reality.
“The NHF have voluntarily come forward with a proposal, which the Government will now consider.
“Since 2012, councils have already delivered more than 3,000 homes through the reinvigorated Right to Buy scheme.”