British Queen celebrates


Allowing tenants to buy their council homes for as little as half the value will not solve the housing crisis, Labour has claimed.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg are due to unveil the Government's housing strategy on Monday, which is expected to include offering right-to-buy discounts of up to 50%.

The maximum reduction currently allowed is £38,000 but that would rise to £76,000 in areas with the highest property prices, according to the Times. On average, council home discounts would double from £26,000 to £52,000. Other measures in the package, which is aimed at reviving he housing market and solving the UK homes shortage, include restoring rules allowing first-time buyers to be able to apply for 95% mortgages, it was reported.


Shadow housing minister Jack Dromey said: "There is a growing housing crisis. The Tory-led government said building more homes would be the gold standard by which they should be judged. But fewer homes are being built this year than for a generation. They are failing their own test and these announcements won't change that or help to build more homes."

Margaret Thatcher introduced the highly popular right-to-buy scheme in the 1980s but the discounts were slashed by Labour when they took power amid a severely depleted housing stock.

Mr Cameron indicated at the Conservative party conference last month he wanted to see a revival of the early success of the scheme.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "It is all just speculation. The housing strategy will be published next week."


PA, photo by Nick Atkins