Boris Johnson has announced sweeping changes to the way in which low income households can apply for a mortgage, as well as a big proposed expansion to the Right to Buy scheme – but what do you think of the plans?
During a speech in Blackpool, the Prime Minister laid out a plan to allow housing association tenants to purchase the property they live in. This is an expansion of the Right to Buy scheme introduced by the Thatcher government in 1980 which allowed two million social housing tenants to buy their homes off the council at a discount.
PM Johnson said: “they’re trapped, they can’t buy, they don’t have the security of ownership, they can’t treat their home as their own or make the improvements that they want”.
This mass selling off of social housing stock is widely blamed for the UK’s current housing crisis, as only five per cent of the social housing sold by councils was ever replaced with new homes. The government estimates that this scheme could affect 2.5 million UK households.
However, during the speech Boris Johnson pledged that each of the homes would be replaced as part of an ever-promised nationwide housebuilding program.
The chief executive of Shelter said previously of the policy: “Over one million households are stuck on social housing waiting lists in England, and with every bill skyrocketing, the government should be building more social homes so we have more not less.”
The Prime Minister also announced a plan to turn “benefits into bricks” by allowing housing benefit recipients to use their monthly payments to secure a mortgage.
He said: “It’s neither right nor fair to put ever vaster sums of taxpayers’ money straight into the pocket of landlords.
“We are going to look to change the rules on welfare so that the 1.5 million working people who are in receipt of housing benefits – I stress working people – and who want to buy their first home will be given a new choice: to spend their benefit on rent, as now, or put it towards a first-ever mortgage.”
The scheme will allow many households with low disposable income to get a mortgage and get onto the housing ladder, while the PM said they would “securitise” the housing benefit bill to fund house building. This would mean allowing the stock market to in some way trade on the government’s £30bn/year bill.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on whether this shake-up of the housing sector will affect you, your family, or the country in general. If you’d like to share your opinion, drop it in the comments and we’ll highlight the best ones when they come in.
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