Housing Associations have found themselves between a rock and a hard place. The Conservative Government promised to extend the “right to buy” for Council Tenants to Housing Association tenants as well. But, unlike Councils which are public sector bodies, Housing Associations are independent – many of them are charities.
Increased Government direction of Housing Association decision making risks them being reclassified as public sector bodies, losing their independence. This would hamper their important role in developing much needed new housing (including affordable housing for people on lower incomes). Last year over 30% of new homes built in England were developed by Housing Associations.
Faced with a Government determined to force through the “right to buy” for their properties, the Housing Association’s trade body (the National Housing Federation) has put together a voluntary offer to introduce a “right to buy”, in return for maintaining independence and a commitment from the Government to work in partnership to build more homes.
The alternative for Housing associations would be legislation, forcing through the “right to buy” with no control by their boards. It appears that Housing Associations have voted overwhelmingly to support the voluntary offer, choosing the National Housing Federation “rock” rather than the “hard place” of Government legislation.
Here’s hopping the Government accepts the offer and honours its side of the bargain.