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Mr Tobias Ellwood - Foreign and Commonwealth Office

During the Westminster Hall debate Arms Sales (Human Rights) on Thursday, 17 September (HC Deb, col 407WH) I told my right hon. Friend, the Member for Twickenham (Dr Mathias), that Bahrain was an example of a country that is on the list of concern, referring to the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices list of 27 countries of human rights concern, as set out in the 2014 Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report. In fact, Bahrain was not featured in the report as a country of concern, but rather as a country case study: http://www.hrdreport.fco.gov.uk/country-case-study-bahrain-reform-implementation/.

Country case studies were introduced in 2012 as a way to report on countries which do not meet the overall threshold for a country of concern, but which we judge nonetheless to be facing human rights challenges, or to be on a trajectory of change with regard to their human rights performance.


Greg Clark - Department for Communities and Local Government

The Government is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement with the National Housing Federation, which will extend Right to Buy discounts to at least 1.3 million more families across the country.

We want more people to be able to own a home of their own. The Right to Buy is a key part of this, and has already helped two million families to realise their dream of home ownership.

Until now, Right to Buy discounts have only been available to tenants in local authority properties and some former council properties. Extending these discounts to housing association tenants in England will end this unfairness, and will deliver our manifesto commitment to extend the Right to Buy to housing association tenants.

Under the agreement, all homes sold to tenants will be replaced on a one for one basis, delivering an overall increase in housing supply. Housing associations have a strong track record in the delivery of new homes, playing a major role in exceeding the Governments 2011-15 affordable homes target by delivering nearly 186,000 homes.

The agreement will mean that the first housing association tenants will be able to start to buy their homes from next year.

In summary, the deal will enable the following:

  • 1.3 million families will be given the opportunity to purchase a home at right to buy level discounts, subject to the overall availability of funding for the scheme and the eligibility requirements. The presumption is that housing associations will sell the tenant the property in which they live.
  • The Government will compensate the housing association for the discount offered to the tenant, and housing associations will retain the sales receipt to enable them to reinvest in the delivery of new homes.
  • Housing associations will use the sales proceeds to deliver new supply and will have the flexibility, but not the obligation, to replace rented homes with other tenures such as shared ownership.
  • Government will continue to work with the National Housing Federation and its members to develop new and innovative products, so that every tenant can buy a stake in their home.

As part of the agreement, the Government will also implement deregulatory measures which will support housing associations in their objectives to help support tenants into home ownership and deliver additional supply of new homes.

We will now be working closely with the sector on the implementation of the deal, and I will update hon. Members in due course on the next stage of the implementation.

 


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