Right-to-buy deals set to be made 'portable'

Ministers will allow some housing association tenants to purchase properties other than the one they currently live in, under tweaks to right-to-buy expansion plans, according to reports in today's newspaper round-up.

The Independent reports that housing association tenants living in hard-to-replace properties will be granted "portable discounts" to take advantage of the government's election manifesto-pledged right-to-buy expansion. The newspaper said the measure, set to be announced later this week, was aimed at those living in rural areas or in specially-adapted homes. It quoted a Department for Communitiies and Local Government spokeswoman saying: "Housing associations would have discretion not to sell, for example, where a property is in a rural area and could not be replaced, or where it is adapted for special-needs tenants. In that event, housing associations would offer tenants the opportunity to use their discount to buy an alternative home from either their own stock or another association's stock."

The Observer has news that Labour's candidate for London mayor has called on party leader Jeremy Corbyn to adopt a party line ruling out the creation of a third runway at Heathrow Airport. Sadiq Khan urged Corbyn to support the expansion of Gatwick Airport in the wake of last week's announcement that ministers will delay responding to Sir Howard Davies' Airports Commission until next year. Elsewhere in the newspaper, columnist Will Hutton argues that expanding Heathrow - as proposed by the commission - is vital, and that transferring focus to Gatwick would be a "classic wasteful fudge".

The Sunday Telegraph reports that the government is to hold a "major review" of Britain's resillience-planning for worst-case flooding following widespread problems in the north earlier this month. It said the review would see new flood defences "drawn up" and civil servants tasked with overhauling strategies for dealing with extreme weather. According to the newspaper, the review will include the creation of a new "Cumbrian Floods Partnership" to identify extra defences, such as slowing down river flows. No timescale was given for the review.

Finally, the Sunday Times (subscription required) has news that chancellor George Osborne is planning a "new blitz" on buy-to-let lending. It said a counsultation would this week be launched on handing the Bank of England greater powers to regulate loans made to landlords, bringing its powers more into line with those relating to the owner-occupier mortgage market. The Sunday Times said new loans to landlords were likely to reach £38 billion this year, close to the "dangerous" pre-crash peak of £45.7 billion in 2007.

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