POLITICS

Right-To-Buy Extension Could Hand Cheap Homes To Immigrants, Labour MP Tristram Hunt Warns

02/11/2015 00:12 GMT | Updated 02/11/2015 00:59 GMT

Homes could be bought with a significant discount by migrants that have been in the UK for just three years under the Government's Right-to-Buy programme, a Labour MP has warned.

Tristram Hunt, formerly the party's Shadow Education Secretary, blogs for The Huffington Post UK that the Conservative election pledge to extend Margaret Thatcher's 1980s flagship policy to 1.2m housing association properties could "exacerbate concern about immigration".

The Housing and Planning Bill will be debated in the House of Commons later today, and if passed will allow tenants to buy their homes at a reduction of up to £100,000.

tristram hunt

Tristram Hunt: "Even though I believe that Britain is stronger because people from other countries have chosen to come and live and work here, we cannot ignore the fact that public concern about immigration is at an all-time high."

Mr Hunt says he has been told at least one in ten homes go to people from outside the UK at one housing association in his Stoke-on-Trent constituency.

The MP says against the "ill-considered" plan the Government "must be sensitive to the potential effects" of migrants getting homes amid long housing waiting lists.

right to buy cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron promoting the NewBuy scheme, another Government initiative to boost home-ownership

He writes: "Even though I believe that Britain is stronger because people from other countries have chosen to come and live and work here, we cannot ignore the fact that public concern about immigration is at an all-time high.

"And one of the best ways to ease concerns about immigration is to ensure that the British people feel they are being fairly treated.

"But with huge discounts on housing association properties being offered to people who may have been paying taxes in the UK for just a few years, this Tory policy will only reinforce the already widespread sense of injustice."

He calls for the eligibility criteria for extending Right-to-Buy to be altered or "better still it could call the whole thing off".

Seven Reasons Why Extending 'Right to Buy' to Housing Associations Is Plain Bad Policy