Boris Johnson to announce right to buy extension during visit to Lancashire on Thursday

Boris Johnson will set out visions for lower-paid workers to be able to use housing benefits to buy their homes and an extension of the right to buy for housing association tenants.

By Colin Ainscough
Thursday, 9th June 2022, 7:49 am
Updated Thursday, 9th June 2022, 8:04 am

The Prime Minister is expected to confirm his intentions in a major speech in Lancashire on Thursday as he seeks to repair his fortunes after a bruising Tory revolt against his leadership.

Boris Johnson previously visited the county in April ahead of the May local elections, where he visited Leyland and Burnley as he swept through Lancashire.

The PM also visited Blackpool earlier in the year, making today’s visit the third this year.

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Boris Johnson at Preston train station during his previous visit to the county in April. Picture by Andrew Parsons CCHQ / Parsons Media

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During this latest visit he will hope the pledges to assist individuals onto the property ladder will please rebel MPs and voters who are facing fresh pressures from the cost-of-living crisis.

Speaking in Lancashire, Mr Johnson will commit to detail “reforms to help people cut costs in every area of household expenditure” over the coming weeks.

He will argue that £30 billion in housing benefit that currently goes towards rent could help people secure and pay for mortgages, according to the Times, which first reported the plan.

But the newspaper said his separate desire to give millions of tenants the ability to pay for housing association properties at discounts of up to 70% is likely to be limited to a series of pilots for now, without additional Government funding.

The plan could, however, differ from Margaret Thatcher’s original right to buy policy with a possible commitment to ensure every home bought under the scheme would be replaced to ensure the stock is not run down.

Shadow minister Jess Phillips was among those questioning how the housing benefits policy will work because individuals with more than £16,000 in savings and investments do not qualify for Universal Credit.

“It’s almost as if Boris Johnson doesn’t do much benefits casework,” the Labour MP quipped.

The challenge could be further highlighted if another petrol price hike on Thursday takes the average cost of a full tank for a 55-litre family car to more than £100 for the first time.

In his speech, Mr Johnson is set to say: “We have the tools we need to get on top of rising prices.

“The global headwinds are strong, but our engines are stronger.

“And, while it’s not going to be quick or easy, you can be confident that things will get better, that we will emerge from this a strong country with a healthy economy.”

On Wednesday, Mr Johnson said the Government will be “expanding home ownership for millions of people” as he vowed to continue in No 10 despite the turmoil.

Downing Street’s press notice issued ahead of the speech contained little detail about the plans, but the PA news agency has been told Mr Johnson will confirm his intention to give tenants of housing association properties the right to buy their homes.