Wandsworth Council report that over a thousand council tenants have registered for the right to buy since the increased discounts became available last month. the Prime Minister will be particularly pleased as he choose the borough to launch the revived scheme.
Of course it is early days. Not everyone who applies will succeed in getting a mortgage. The Government's target is for 100,000 sales – for which I don't think a date was specified but I suppose by the end of the Parliament. That is beginning to look cautious. By contrast various pundits had earlier said it was unrealistically high. There are 800,000 council tenants in full time work and the aspiration for home ownership is strong.
Given that the Treasury will keep 75% of the proceeds the policy will also help efforts to restrain the National Debt. It is only a matter of a few billion – perhaps £5 billion if the 100,000 target is hit. Modest I realise against a trillion pounds of debt and an estimated further borrowing of £120 billion. But every little helps.
I am surprised that the Government has not yet promoted the improved right to buy offer with an a advertising campaign. This does mean that councils which refuse to promote are likely to generate lower sales.