Peter Wilby – First Thoughts – New Statesman – 17-23 April 2015
The Right to Buy – allowing tenants to purchase at a discount council houses and now, under Cameron’s proposals, housing association properties – is another terrible Tory policy. For many years, almost everyone applauded Margaret Thatcher’s original scheme. Only three decades later can we see the full consequences. More than a third of ex-council homes in London are in the hands of private landlords who are, in effect, subsidised by the state through housing credits that help tenants pay the inflated rents – a supreme example of privatisation that leaves both consumers and taxpayers worse off. Private tenants have no rights even to carry on renting beyond a few months, let alone a right to buy. When you hear Tories praising the policy, agree and say you like right-to-buy so much you think it should be extended to the private sector. Then sit back while they try to explain why that wouldn’t be a good idea.