As I mentioned when it was published the Conservatives new policy paper on housing, Strong Foundations: Building Homes and Communities, has some excellent proposals.
But what is missing?
- Scrapping John Prescott's cap on the level of discounts provided under the Right to Buy introduced during the Thatcher Government. The discounts range from up to 32% to 60% for houses and 44% to 70% for flats depending on length of tenure. But with the limit Prescott put on the amounts (ranging from £16,000 to £38,000) in practice the discounts are far smaller. The Prescott cap must go.
- Extend the right to buy for a million housing association tenants. This was Conservative policy at the last election but appears to have been dropped. They should also be entitled to same discount as Council tenants. At the moment there is lottery where those placed in Council properties have a right to buy while those placed in housing association properties don't.
- As well as the 10% equity share offered to good tenants, offer an extra equity stake for tenants who agree in their tenancy agreements to take responsibility to pay and organise minor repairs for themselves. (Plumbing, etc.) The present Soviet system involves them going along to housing officers for the most minor repairs – with great delay and inefficiency. Councillors often hear about it as it ends up as case work for us to chase up.