The Devil in the Detail

The Devil in the Detail, written for and published by on 05/10/2015, picks apart the 'justifications' used by housing associations re: the requirement for forced local authority stock sale in the recent RTB deal.

In the wake of the revelation that 86% of NHF members have voted in favour of the ‘voluntary’ right-to-buy deal (or was it 55%? Statistics are slippery things…), thoughts will turn, understandably, to what happens next. As such it may seem redundant to further debate the arguments for and against the deal, but arguments have been made that I can’t let go. Not yet.

I have been a vocal opponent of the right-to-buy policy, both in its current iteration and regarding its proposed extension. My anger toward the latter primarily stems from the requirement for forced sale of high-value local authority assets to fund the policy. Maybe it’s because I’ve worked for a local authority for seven years now, but I found this provision galling. Worse, I found the nonchalance of housing associations regarding this detail to be insulting. A betrayal.

So, what have proponents of the deal been saying when confronted with the forced sale of local authority assets to fund the right-to-buy extension?

Their justifications fall into five broad camps; allow me to tear each apart in turn.

The above is an excerpt from my opinion article ‘The Devil in the Detail’, written exclusively for, the UK’s most up-to-date Social Housing & Local Government news website – click here to read the rest of the article at (published Monday 5th October 2015) and be sure to check out their printed publication, 24housing Magazine.


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