Contact us:
01508 493330

Latest News & Updates

← Back to News

Posted on July 3rd 2015 by admin-movingin

‘You’re talking waffle’ housing minister is told by predecessor

Housing minister Brandon Lewis has been accused of talking “a load of waffle” by one of his predecessors.

Former Labour housing minister John Healey clashed with Lewis in the Commons when discussing the extension of Right to Buy to tenants of housing associations.

Healey asked about the cost to the public purse of introducing the policy.

Lewis replied: “The details will be set out in the impact assessment when the housing bill is published, but it is all about ensuring that we support people who aspire to own their own home and extend home ownership to as wide a group of people who wish to have it as possible, and on equal terms to those who have had it for so many years.”

Healey responded: “What a load of waffle. It is quite clear that the minister has made no assessment at all of the costs of the policy.”

He continued: “When he produces the impact assessment before the bill is published and brought before the House, will he ensure that it shows that taxpayers will pay three times over: first, for the investment to build the homes; secondly, for the discount to sell them; and, thirdly, for the higher housing benefit bills that will result?”

Dodging the question, the housing minister replied: “I appreciate that the right hon. gentleman feels strongly about this, no doubt against the background of his interests in the housing association he is involved with.

“I gently point out to the right hon. gentleman that he has made it very clear where the Labour party stands on the issue.”

Lewis told Healey: “We want to support people who want to own their own home. I am disappointed that he does not support aspiration.”

Healey has also written to the National Audit Office, calling for an investigation into Right to Buy.

He has complained that many houses bought at a discount are now let out to private tenants.

Under Right to Buy, homes can be bought at discounts of up to £75,000–£100,000 in London.

Labour leader contender Jeremy Corbyn wants Right to Buy to be extended to the private rented sector.