Labour could force landlords to sell homes to tenants at 'reasonable' price in new 'right-to-buy' policy

Chris Baynes
Landlords could be forced to sell their homes to tenants under if Labour come to power: PA

A Labour government would look to bring in a radical “right-to-buy” scheme that could help millions of private tenants in the UK to buy their rented homes for a “reasonable” price, the shadow chancellor has suggested.

John McDonnell said he wanted to tackle the ”burgeoning buy-to-let market” and address problem landlords who do not maintain their properties.

The scheme, which could bring day of reckoning for many of Britain’s 2.6 million landlords, would echo Margaret Thatcher’s policy under which millions of council tenants bought the property in which they lived in the 1980s.

Setting out loose guidelines for a Labour policy first suggested by Jeremy Corbyn during his 2015 party leadership bid, Mr McDonnell said the price paid by tenants who wanted to buy their home would not necessarily be the market price.

“You’d want to establish what is a reasonable price, you can establish that and then that becomes the right to buy,” he told the Financial Times. “You [the government] set the criteria. I don’t think it’s complicated.”

Mr McDonnell said the plan would be a way of redressing problems such as landlords refusing to invest in their properties while making a “fast buck” at the cost of their tenants and the community.

“We’ve got a large number of landlords who are not maintaining these properties and are causing overcrowding and these problems,” he added.

The shadow chancellor has also previously announced plans for “inclusive ownership funds” under which every company with more than 250 employees would be required to transfer 10 per cent of their shares to their staff.

According to new analysis by the Financial Times and law firm Clifford Chance, the scheme would mean £300 billion of shares in 7,000 large companies would be handed to workers in one of the largest ever raids on the private sector by a government in a western democracy.