Labour has announced plans to enable tenants to buy the private homes they rent at a discount with a controversial right to buy scheme. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell revealed in an interview with the Financial Times that the policy would be introduced if the party wins power in the next general election.
The aim is to offer tenants the chance to buy the home they rent at a price set by the government that would be much cheaper than the open market value.
He made some loose suggestions about the proposal, saying: ““You’d want to establish what is a reasonable price, you can establish that and then that becomes the right to buy. The government set the criteria. I don’t think it’s complicated.
“We’ve got many landlords who are not maintaining these properties and are causing overcrowding and problems. In my street now… a third of the houses are Right to Buy, badly maintained, overcrowded. It’s horrendous.”
McDonnell said nothing about how tenants would qualify for the right to buy or how the measure would be financed.
It’s not the first time Labour have voiced right to buy for private tenants. Jeremy Corbyn first flagged the idea during his 2015 campaign to take over leadership of the party, but the idea was dropped after failing to garner support.
He suggested that the policy would be financed from £14 billion of landlord tax breaks, but these tax breaks have since been withdrawn.
In his interview with the Financial Times, McDonnell also confirmed Labour would switch shares worth £300 billion from investors into the hands of workers.
He announced 7,000 companies with more than 250 employees would have to hand 10 per cent of their shares to workers.
When asked for clarity about the announcements, a Labour spokesman said: ““Labour is proud of our 2017 manifesto and the enormous increase in the Labour vote which it helped secure. Ahead of the next election we will lay out our programme to really end austerity, eliminate in-work poverty and drive up living standards across the UK economy.”