Jan 30 2013

Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas proposes Bill to help local people buy property

gareth_thomas_headshot1Gareth Thomas MP today introduced a Bill on the floor of the House of Commons which would reform the housing market. He proposed that ‘local occupancy clauses’, which restrict the sale of ex-social housing to those who live and work in an area, should be extended to urban areas such as London.

Under the original Right to Buy legislation local occupancy clauses were created to allow local authorities in the National Parks to limit sales of former social housing to those who have lived and/or worked in an area for 3 years. These provisions help to reduce prices by between 5% and 30%, but typically are worth 10 – 20% off the full market value, helping to make some housing more affordable for local residents.

In Parliament today Gareth highlighted the difficulty for those living on average earnings in the suburbs and central London to get on the property ladder and argued that as well as more house building, sensible changes to housing market rules are needed.

He also proposed measures to boost co-operative housing; similarly to help those working to get on the property ladder. He urged the government to look at a range of options to tackle the problem of land available for housing, which developers are deliberately not trying to bring to market, often because they want to wait until the area has risen in value.

Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas said:  “We need to reform the housing market by amending the Right to Buy rules to boost the chances of hard working local people getting on the property ladder. Extending local occupancy clauses, boosting co-op housing and changing the incentives so land for housing which developers are just sitting on is brought forward for affordable housing will all help hard working people who’re not rich, wanting their own home, get on the property ladder.”

The debate on the Bill is available to watch here.

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