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Housing and Planning Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:37 pm on 2nd November 2015.

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Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 3:37 pm, 2nd November 2015

I am going to make some progress.

Before I took the interventions, I was saying that if we are to find the land, grant the planning permission, finance the development and build the homes, it is essential that the various players in the housing market come together to do it. It cannot be done individually. The Bill will help with that.

Let me take the example of the right to buy. Home ownership is an aspiration for 86% of people in this country. The Bill will make it possible, through the agreement that the housing association sector has made with the Government, to extend the right to buy to all 1.3 million tenants who currently do not have the right to become homeowners. That agreement is good for

“residents, for housing associations and the nation’s housing supply. Residents will get the opportunity to realise their dreams of homeownership and housing associations will be able to replace the homes sold, boosting the nation’s housing supply.”

Those were the words of the head of the housing associations’ collective body, the National Housing Federation.

It has been a 30-year injustice that council tenants have had the right to buy their homes but housing association tenants have not. I strongly believe that when they signed a tenancy agreement, housing association tenants did not sign away their aspirations to become homeowners. Housing association tenants share the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. They live on the same streets, they shop in the same stores, their children go to the same schools. It is only right that they should have the same opportunities as council tenants.