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23 November 2016

Autumn Statement: Philip Hammond presses ahead with housing association Right to Buy

He is also directing billions towards affordable new homes. 

By Julia Rampen

The Chancellor is pushing ahead with a widely-panned scheme to encourage housing association tenants to buy their homes. 

Philip Hammond said there would be a large-scale regional pilot of Right to Buy for housing association tenants.

The scheme was first outlined by his predecessor, George Osborne, and offers tenants a discount which can allow them to buy their own homes. 

But critics question the value of selling off precious housing stock, and the Chartered Institute for Housing found that even when housing associations were compensated, it would leave a £3.3bn funding gap

Nevertheless, the pilot is a step back from the full-scale roll out promised in the Conservative manifesto. 

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Hammond is also promising a housing stimulus, with £1.4bn targeted at building new affordable homes, and a £2.3bn housing infrastructure fund to deliver infrastructure for new homes.

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The Chancellor has banned letting agents from charging renters fees, a policy previously proposed by Labour in its 2015 manifesto. 

He said: “Letting agents are currently able to charge unregulated fees to tenants. We’ve seen these fees spiral, despite attempts to regulate them, often to hundeds of pounds. This is wrong. Landlords appoint letting agents and landlords should meet those fees.”