Prime minister Boris Johnson’s idea – inspired by Margaret Thatcher’s council house right-to-buy scheme – is designed to help “generation rent” and prove the government is still committed to its Conservative principles amid unrest from some backbenchers, it was reported.
It is estimated that up to 2.5 million households in the country could become eligible to buy their rented homes at a discount of up to 70 percent.
There are around 18,000 properties of all sizes and types owned by housing associations in Sheffield, according to the council.
The Telegraph reported that an unnamed government source said: “The prime minister has got very excited about this. It could be hugely significant.
“In many ways it is a direct replica of the great Maggie idea of ‘buy your own council flat’. It is ‘buy your own housing association flat’.”
Some housing experts warned the policy would worsen the shortage of affordable homes during the cost of living crisis and called instead for an increase in housebuilding.
Polly Neate, the chief executive of Shelter, criticised the “hare-brained idea” as “the opposite of what the country needs”.
She added: “There could not be a worse time to sell off what remains of our last truly affordable social homes. The living cost crisis means more people are on the brink of homelessness than home ownership.
“Right to buy has already torn a massive hole in our social housing stock as less than five percent of the homes sold off have ever been replaced. These half-baked plans have been tried before and they’ve failed.”
Lisa Nandy, Labour’s shadow communities secretary, called the plan “desperate” and accused the “tired government” of repacking an old plan.
She said: “Millions of families in the private rented sector with low savings and facing sky high costs and rising bills need far more ambitious plans to help them buy their own home.”
Council housing tenants can already buy properties they are renting at a discounted price – which is determined by how long someone has been a social housing tenant.
Figures showed there are hundreds of people who apply for this in Sheffield every year.