Campaign to Protect Rural England Standing up for your countryside

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Too much right to buy?

The Conservative manifesto committed the new Government to extend the Right to Buy to housing association tenants. Luke Burroughs, CPRE policy and research adviser, explains why he's worried about this extension of the scheme.

"As a housing researcher, I am concerned about the potential impacts of the extension of the Right to Buy to housing association homes.  Despite high demand, the supply of affordable housing in rural communities is already worryingly low, accounting for just 12% of housing stock. Increased and continuing provision of affordable housing is essential to the sustainability and vitality of the countryside.

"Rural communities already face the challenges of higher average house prices and lower average wages than urban areas. These challenges are driving people to move from the rural communities that they grew up in to seek housing elsewhere.  Extending the Right to Buy is likely to exacerbate this problem, with an increased number of invaluable rural affordable homes lost to the open market forever. (Despite the promise of "one for one replacement", since 2012, only 46% of properties sold under recent Right-to-Buy legislation have been replaced).

"Extending Right to Buy is also likely to have a hugely detrimental impact upon the specialist housing associations that are providing rural affordable housing.  Cuts to subsidies and welfare reform have led housing associations to increase borrowing against the value of their housing stock. Forcing them to sell this stock at a discount may lead to the collapse of these indispensable organisations."

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