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BMENational Statement on the Right to Buy

On 9th June the Prime Minister confirmed plans to extend the Right to Buy to housing association tenants, saying that now was ‘the moment to widen the possibilities and to give greater freedoms to those who yearn to buy’.

BMENational has no objection to Right to Buy in principle, provided that any properties sold are replaced on a one-to-one basis. We acknowledge that ethnic minority households are under-concentrated in home ownership generally, and outright home ownership specifically. This puts them at a disadvantage in terms of wealth and asset accumulation, in a society where unprecedented house price growth has fuelled family wealth. So any proposal to extend home ownership in to minority communities is to be welcomed. However we question the extent to which current Right to Buy has benefitted minority communities, and would urge the government to provide ethnicity data on uptake to increase openness, scrutiny and accountability. 

We would also encourage the government to consider other options for social housing tenants to buy new or existing homes just as some have been given opportunities to buy new homes under Help to Buy. An extension of the ‘Tenants’ Incentives Scheme’ in high value areas to free up and safeguard social housing, for example, would allow tenants to access a grant to buy an alternative home. This ensures social housing levels do not reduce and remain available for people on local authority waiting lists.

However we have serious concerns about the current proposals to extend the Right to Buy:

We believe that these proposals do nothing to help BMENational in our mission is to improve the lives of our communities and tackle major housing inequalities including:

We believe that the current housing crisis can only be addressed by building more homes of all types and tenures, and that there is a lot more that could be done to get Britain building. We are keen to work with our partners and government to make this a reality.

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