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Labour to introduce ‘right to buy’ scheme for private rental market tenants

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell says he wants to shift power away from landlords including more taxes and 'below market value' right to buy scheme.

Nigel Lewis

right to buy

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell says a Labour government would bring in a Margaret Thatcher-style ‘right to buy’ scheme for private tenants.

In an interview over the weekend with the Financial Times, McDonnell said he also wanted to burden landlords further with unspecified taxes as the party gears up for a possible snap election prior to the UK leaving the EU on October 31st.

The proposal is part of a radical Labour plan to shift power away from the UK’s 2.6 million landlords to tenants and is a policy first mentioned by Jeremy Corbyn during his bid to become Labour leadership in 2015, but not been mentioned again until now.

Below-market value

Labour’s plans for a private rental market Right to Buy scheme would see tenants able to buy their rented homes at a below-market value set by the government.

“You’d want to establish what is a reasonable price, you can establish that and then that becomes the right to buy,” he told the FT. “You (the government) set the criteria. I don’t think it’s complicated.”

McDonnell argues that the measure would help improve the quality of housing in the UK, arguing that too many landlords spend too little money on their properties to make a ‘fast buck’.

“We’ve got a large number of landlords who are not maintaining these properties and are causing overcrowding and these problems. In my street now . . . a third of the houses are right-to-buy, badly maintained, overcrowded; it’s horrendous,” he said.

Read more about Labour’s housing plans.

September 2, 2019

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