A TORY MP is urging the Government to reignite what he calls “the 1984 spirit” by making it easier for council tenants to buy their homes.
The Government wants to encourage more tenants to get on the property ladder by letting them buy council homes at a huge discount after living in them for three years.
However, Rochford and Southend East MP James Duddridge says the qualifying period should be cut to just two years.
More than 4,000 tenants in Rochford and Southend have taken advantage of Margaret Thatcher’s right-to-buy legislation since it was brought in, in 1980.
However, as discounts were reduced and the amount of time tenants had to live in their homes increased, sales dwindled - so much so that just two homes were sold in Southend in 2008/9.
Since then the Coalition Government increased discounts and help for buyers, and the totals have increase, so that 22 homes have been sold in the past year, However, Mr Duddridge wants to see more tenants getting in the act in the way they did in the eighties.
Borrowing the catchphrase of fictional TV cop Gene Hunt in the nostalgic show, Ashes to Ashes, he said: “Firing up the Quattro with the 1984 spirit and bringing back right-to-buy would go down incredibly well in Rochford and Southend.
“It would also go down incredibly well in a number of working-class constituencies where there are council houses and people want to get on the ladder. They would really appreciate it.”
The Government has already increased the maximum discount offered to tenants from 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the market price and has said it wants tenants to buy their homes after they’ve live there for three years.
Mr Duddridge said: “Most people who live in Southend, if they move from rented property in one part of Shoebury to another, have less stake in what goes on in that street – what Mrs Miggins is doing next door or in the cut through.
“By buying a house, someone is establishing a family in that area, potentially for a longer period. They have bought into what goes on in that street.
“That has enormous ramifications for individuals who have purchased under the right to buy.
“I would encourage people in Rochford and Southend, where they can, to buy their own homes and take a stake. That is right for them and the communities they live in.”