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Tory ‘Right to Buy’ extension slammed by political rivals

Conservative plans to extend the Right to Buy programme to housing association tenants were slammed in last night’s BBC opposition leaders debate. 

The Tories announced the plans ahead of their manifesto launch last week, promising that 1.3 million tenants could qualify for discounts of up to 35 per cent in seeking to buy housing association properties.

The housing plans will be funded by a requirement on council homes to sell off their most expensive housing stock when it is vacated, with councils forced to build cheaper homes on a one-to-one basis.

However, the proposals were condemned by Labour, the SNP and Plaid Cymru last night.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “I don’t think the Tory plan works because there is no money for it. All it will mean is the social housing stock being watered down and fewer homes to rent.”

Housing is a devolved policy area, meaning it is run in Scotland and Wales by local authorities. Both nations have ended Right to Buy schemes.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon described the policy as “one of the worst ideas I have ever heard” and insisted Right to Buy was “a policy that has had its day”.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood agreed, describing the Conservative plans as “one of the worst policies I can think of if you are thinking about reducing homelessness”.

“This will increase levels of homelessness and that’s not on,” Wood said.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage added: “A rapid rise in population due to open door immigration…has directly contributed to the housing crisis.

“If you have net migration running at 300,000 a year, that’s 300,000 people who need somewhere to live.”

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