MORE East Lancashire residents could be entitled to buy their housing association homes if the Conservatives win the General Election.

The move was welcomed by Pendle Tory candidate Andrew Stephenson who said an extension of the scheme was ‘wonderful news’.

But the plans were met more cautiously by the East Lancashire members of other parties, who said they were concerned that social housing stock could be left depleted.


Council house tenants have been able to buy their homes at a discounted price through Right to Buy for years, but now the Tories have promised to expand the programme in the party’s manifesto.

Mr Stephenson said: “This is wonderful news.

“In the borough we transferred our council housing stock to Housing Pendle some years ago.

“This meant new tenants had no right to buy.

“Extending this right to purchase their homes at a discount is tremendous news for those tenants and thousands of others around the country.”

Burnley Liberal Democrat candidate Gordon Birtwistle said the policy was similar to one introduced by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

He said: “The problem was the government did not replace the council houses that we sold.

“That has resulted in a severe shortage of social housing, especially in Burnley, and an increase in the rents in the private sector.

“I am not against it in principle but we need a replacement of the properties sold.”

Blackburn’s Labour candidate Kate Hollern said: “There are not enough affordable houses in the country and this has contributed to the huge rise in private rented accommodation.

“These proposals by the Tories will simply make the situation worse.”

Shirley Parkinson, Ribble Valley’s UKIP candidate, said: “The Conservatives have not looked at the long term implications and what will happen if you take social housing out of the loop.”