Give Greenwich's tenants a foot on the housing ladder

Alistair Craig, Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for Greenwich & Woolwich today backed new plans to extend home ownership in Greenwich. New Conservative policies would mean extra support for ‘shared ownership’ schemes; allow social tenants to buy a stake in their home; and make it easier for housing associations to build more affordable housing. This will help those who currently cannot afford to get on the housing ladder.

Alistair explained, “It is now increasingly difficult for residents in Greenwich on modest incomes to buy their own home. Labour once promised they had ‘no plans to raise tax at all’; but their property taxes – such as council tax and stamp duty – have hit first time buyers. The average first time buyer in Greater London now pays an extra £1,357 in stamp duty compared with 1997. Soaring council tax bills are a financial drain on top of that.

“Social tenants have also lost out, with Right to Buy discounts being cut back for Greenwich's 26,670
council house tenants*. Where council housing has been transferred to housing associations, tenants lose the same Right to Buy.”

Under the Conservative plans for Action on Housing:

• Conservatives will promote and extend support for shared ownership schemes. Shared equity helps people buy their home of choice without having to fund 100 per cent of the value.

• We will extend the Right to Buy to over a million housing association tenants, and reinvest the receipts from sales in new social housing. There are 9,847 housing association tenants in Greenwich*.

• We will help social housing tenants purchase a home, not just their present property, through transferable discounts. Our new ‘Right to Own’ will allow tenants to build up a stake in their equity of their home.

• We will reduce Labour’s disproportionate and excessive regulation and inspection of housing associations, and make it easier for them to work with private sector developers to build more affordable housing to buy and rent.

• We will review housing regulation as a whole and the impact it is having on house building and the cost of new homes.

Alistair concluded, “Conservatives want the dream of home ownership to come true for more and more people, so that they can benefit from the security and independence which home ownership conveys.”



*Source: Office of Deputy Prime Minister, April 2003