Housing association sell off will be a ‘disaster’ for rural communities

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Letting housing association tenants buy their homes at a discount will be disastrous for rural communities, according to a leading academic.

Government plans to extend the “right to buy” will make an existing housing shortage worse, said Professor Mark Shucksmith, Director of the Newcastle University Institute for Social Renewal.

And the problem will be particularly bad in rural areas – where house prices are highest, he said.

But the policy was welcomed by North East MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative MP for Berwick, who said funds raised from the sell-off would be used to allow councils and housing associations to build more homes.

It comes as a senior civil servant criticised the policy, which was one of the Conservative Party’s flagship manifesto promises during the general election campaign.

The Government is to extend the right to buy their home at a discount, which currently applies…

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