CPS: Labour misses the point on Right to Buy

Labour’s private sector ‘Right to Buy’ would be dangerous and damaging

The Labour Party is reportedly proposing a ‘right to buy’ for tenants in the private sector.

This is superficially similar to a scheme proposed by the Centre for Policy Studies in October 2018 – but is a damaging and distorted version of that policy.

‘From Rent to Own’, authored by Alex Morton, Head of Policy at the CPS (and formerly responsible for housing and planning in the No 10 Policy Unit), argued that landlords should be incentivised to sell to tenants, to redress the rise in buy-to-let and fall in owner-occupation in recent decades.

Commenting on the story, Robert Colvile, Director of the Centre for Policy Studies, said:

“It is gratifying that Labour appear to have been reading the Centre for Policy Studies’ recent work setting out a way to help renters buy their home – but they seem to have completely missed the point.

“The big story of the housing market in recent years has been a surge in private rental at expense of owner-occupation. It is vitally important to reverse that – for example by incentivising landlords to sell to tenants through CGT reliefs for both (a policy which our research has shown is practical, affordable and highly popular).

“But it is equally vital that this is done in a way that is fair – to tenant and landlord alike. Labour’s proposed ‘right to buy’ for private tenants appears in effect, to be the expropriation of private property, and is likely to have all kinds of unintended consequences.”

“From Rent to Own’ proposed that the Government should turn the Capital Gains Tax payable by a landlord on sale of a rented home into a rebate shared between landlord and tenant – creating an incentive for the former to sell, and giving the latter a significant contribution towards a deposit.

“This scheme, entitled Help to Own, would mean that for every £1 a tenant invested to buy the property they rent they would receive a total of £3 for their deposit.”


Robert and Alex are available for interview. To book Robert, Alex, or another Centre for Policy Studies spokesmen, please contact the Centre for Policy Studies Press Office on 07852 952 917 or email [email protected]

Date Added: Monday 2nd September 2019