My recent article for the Oxford Mail on the Government's plans to extend the Right to Buy... Since the original Right to Buy was introduced in 1980 around 1.5 million households have benefited from what most people take for granted – the ability to own their own home. The Government’s plans to extend the Right to Buy to housing association tenants creates a level playing field for all of those in the public rented sector. In the Vale of White Horse there are many people who have benefited from the scheme in previous years, but many more who are currently barred from taking advantage of the Right to Buy - simply because their home is a housing association property rather than a council-owned property. No-one is forced to buy their house, but it gives people the right to do so if they wish. The Government plans that the discounted sale to tenants will be subsidised by the sale of other properties and the proceeds being invested in new properties. There is much concern about the loss of rented properties but of course this ignores the fact that most of the tenants would otherwise remain in those homes for most of their lives. The Right to Buy only applies to tenants who have had a property for several years and is in fact weighted in favour of longer term tenants. The properties with a higher turnover remain with housing associations to help service the immediate need, whilst the new houses being built will provide homes for the next generation of tenants. Oxford City Council is seeking to make a special case for political gain. The fact is that the vast majority of publicly rented property in the City is in fact owned and operated by the City Council and it’s tenants already benefit from the Right to Buy and have done since for the last 35 years. The new legislation would apply only to tenants of housing associations – a minority in the case of Oxford city. There is undoubtedly a housing problem in Oxford and the surrounding county. Oxford is also undoubtedly restricted by the amount of available space for new housing. Part of the solution however is for the City Council to review their own Local Plan to deliver more housing for residents (not a single affordable home was built in Oxford in 2013/14). If there is a significant take up of the new Right to Buy in Oxford it will show that tenants want the same opportunities as many members of the City Council’s Executive Board who own their own homes. Given the inability of many people to get a foot on the housing ladder in Oxford the Council should welcome this policy as much as the residents who will benefit from it.