The extended right-to-buy for housing association tenants will not be rolled out nationally until April 2018 at the earliest, housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell has informed councils.
Mr Barwell said councils will not be asked for any payments in relation to their higher value homes. Regulations defining what constitutes a higher value home have not yet been published.
The significance of Mr Barwell’s comments, in an interview with Inside Housing, were confirmed by the Department for Communities & Local Government to LGC.
Mr Barwell reminded councils and housing associations that the Conservative manifesto had committed his party to delivering the extension of right-to-buy, advising them the national rollout could take place this parliament.
He said: “We haven’t set the date for full national rollout but [the sector] certainly shouldn’t assume it’s five years away because it’s a manifesto commitment to deliver.”
Mr Barwell said the regional pilot would test the ability to replace homes on a one-for-one basis, as well as the ability for people to use their discounts to buy elsewhere.
He said: “I’m very conscious that right-to-buy is a policy that doesn’t have universal agreement and to me the key to making it acceptable is that it should both help people fulfil their dream of owning their own home but also deliver a replacement affordable home for rent. Therefore demonstrating that one-for-one replacement as part of this regional pilot is really important before we proceed to national rollout.”