Boris Johnson’s plan to expand the Right to Buy policy to include housing association tenants will be capped, Michael Gove has revealed, as the Prime Minister prepares to deliver a major speech later today in an attempt to reset his premiership.
Mr Johnson will use a speech this afternoon to announce that households will be given the right to buy the property they rent from housing associations, as they currently can with council houses.
He will also unveil plans to let people who are paying for rent via housing benefit to get extra support to secure mortgages from banks.
The ideas will be seen as a key step in what Mr Johnson dubs turning “generation rent” into “generation buy”.
However, Mr Gove, the Housing Secretary, said the number of people who will be able to benefit from the expansion of Right to Buy will be capped and he was unable to say what the cap will be in a move which is likely to spark fears that the policy may be underwhelming.
Mr Gove also said the Government will commit to replacing the housing association homes which are sold under the policy on a “like-for-like, one-for-one” basis.
Follow the latest updates below.
Review: Legal age for buying cigarettes should increase every year
An independent review on smoking which was commissioned by Sajid Javid has recommended the age of sale for tobacco products should be increased by one year, every year.
The Health Secretary commissioned the review into how the Government can hit its target of making the UK smoke-free by 2030.
The review, led by Dr Javed Khan OBE, former CEO of children’s charity Barnardo’s, has now been published.
It has made four main recommendations:
Raising the age of sale from 18 by one year every year, until eventually no one can buy a tobacco product.
Increased investment of an additional £125 million per year for smoke-free policies.
Promotion of vaping as an effective “swap to stop” tool to help people quit smoking
Improving NHS smoking prevention services.
PM ‘doing a good enough job of sabotaging himself’
Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, made only an oblique reference to Boris Johnson’s confidence vote at PMQs yesterday as he chose instead to focus his questions on the NHS.
Lisa Nandy, the shadow levelling up secretary, said this morning that Sir Keir did not mention the vote because the PM is “doing a good enough job of sabotaging himself”.
Asked whether there should be a leadership contest in the Labour Party, Ms Nandy told Sky News: “No, absolutely not. Keir Starmer yesterday was talking about the issues that matter to the people in the country.
“The Prime Minister is doing a good enough job of sabotaging himself and his own reputation, and that row will continue to run within the Conservative Party.”
‘The Government has not thought through the detail’
Boris Johnson will today unveil plans to let people who are paying for rent via housing benefit to get extra support to secure mortgages from banks.
Lisa Nandy, the shadow levelling up secretary, has questioned if the policy will work because there is “no sign” of lenders having signed up to the idea.
Speaking on Sky News, she said: “In principle, it’s a great idea to try to get more people the security of their own home, particularly people who find themselves in the benefits system.
“The problem is that, as always, the Government has not thought through the detail. There’s no sign that any of the lenders are on board with this.
“The Government can say that it wants to open up mortgages to people on housing benefit, but unless the lenders agree to do it, it’s not going to happen.
Labour criticises Government’s housing plans
Lisa Nandy, the shadow levelling up secretary, has warned the Government’s plans to expand the Right to Buy to include housing association tenants could make the UK’s housing crisis “worse”.
She told the BBC: “We’ve got a severe shortage of affordable housing in this country, we’ve got a million people on the housing waiting lists. By their own reckoning, this will help a few thousand families a year.
“For those families that will be very welcome, but if it makes the housing crisis worse for everybody else, I’m not sure why they wouldn’t come forward with a proper plan that actually starts to increase the supply of affordable housing, cuts costs for lease holders, which is one of the things that we’re proposing today, and get money back into people’s pockets right now.”
Lisa Nandy says Labour is ‘on the rail workers’ side’
Lisa Nandy, the shadow levelling up secretary, has suggested she supports the strikes by rail workers in the coming weeks if the Government fails to address their concerns. But she insisted Labour wants to avoid the industrial action.
Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme, she said: “We want to avoid the strikes and we’re on the public’s side on this.
“We’re also on the rail workers’ side and I was speaking to some rail workers on Monday just before I got on the train to come down to London.
“They’re dealing with the same pressures that everyone else is – the cost of food, the cost of soaring inflation rates, taxes going up, and they’re really struggling to make ends meet.”
Sir Keir Starmer failed to condemn the strikes during PMQs in the House of Commons yesterday (you can read the full story here).
Michael Gove ‘made a mistake’ by failing to back Boris Johnson in 2016
Michael Gove torpedoed Boris Johnson’s candidacy in the 2016 Tory leadership race when he unexpectedly announced his own candidacy.
He said at the time that he had made the decision to run (he would ultimately finish third) because he did not believe Mr Johnson could “provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead”.
Mr Gove today said he had “made a mistake” by failing to back Mr Johnson in 2016.
The Housing Secretary told Sky News that he had “enthusiastically” backed the PM at the confidence vote on Monday.
Told that he had not always been an enthusiastic supporter of Mr Johnson, he said: “No, I made a mistake in 2016, a misjudgment. If you have been in politics for a little while as I have been there are always mistakes that you can look back on. But no, I think the Prime Minister is doing a good job.”
First Rwanda plane will take off next week, insists Gove
The Government’s first attempt at sending asylum seekers to Rwanda is scheduled for next week but ministers are facing legal challenges over the “offshoring” policy.
Michael Gove, the Housing Secretary, said he believes the flight will go ahead, telling Sky News: “Yes, I do and the Home Secretary was clear, she always anticipated, we always anticipated that there would be legal challenges.
“”There are some well-funded law firms that understandably from their point of view want to test this policy. But we believe it is the right policy.”
Government planning deposit saving help for benefit claimants
People who have more than £16,000 in savings cannot claim means-tested benefits.
Michael Gove revealed this morning that the Government is looking at introducing a new savings vehicle which will allow people to save money specifically for the purpose of buying a house without it impacting on their ability to claim benefits.
He told Sky News: “One of the challenges, there are two, one is making sure that we have more new homes, the other one is making sure that people have access to mortgage finance. One of the things we are looking at is a way in which people can save explicitly for home ownership and that that those savings can be disregarded or set aside for the purposes of people receiving the benefits to which they are entitled.
“So we are looking specifically at a savings vehicle that people can use in order to make sure that they can save for that deposit because home ownership is not just good for individuals it is good for society overall.”
Petrol stations warned not to take ‘unfair advantage of consumers’
Michael Gove, the Housing Secretary, has warned fuel retailers they must not take “unfair advantage of consumers” on pump prices.
He said: “One of the things that we do need to do is to make sure that on every forecourt that every outlet is making sure that it doesn’t take advantage of this situation to build up excess profits.
“I think we do need to keep a watch on this and I know the Competition and Markets Authority and others will always keep an eagle eye in order to ensure that we don’t have a situation where companies are taking unfair advantage of consumers.”
The Government has suggested it could name and shame profiteering petrol stations.
Michael Gove hints at extra support for motorists
The price of filling a tank of petrol is expected to hit £100 for the first time today as the cost-of-living crisis deepens (you can read the full story here).
Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, cut fuel duty by 5p in March but he is under pressure to now go further and bring forward more help for struggling motorists.
Michael Gove, the Housing Secretary, this morning hinted that more help could soon be announced but he also stressed the Government wants to ensure retailers are actually passing on the existing cut.
He told Sky News: “Of course we keep under review all the measures necessary in order to help people with the cost of living.”
Asked if the Chancellor could announce a further cut to fuel duty, Mr Gove said: “Well, we always keep things under review but one of the things we do want to make sure is that that cut in fuel duty is being passed onto the consumer.”
Government will fund ‘like-for-like’ replacements on Right to Buy
The expansion of Right to Buy to include housing associations will inevitably spark concerns about the UK’s social housing stock because selling more homes will mean fewer are available for future tenants.
But Michael Gove today insisted the Government will ensure all homes which are sold are replaced on a “like-for-like” basis.
Told that many council houses originally sold under Right to Buy were not replaced, the Housing Secretary told Sky News: “That is a fair point and one of the things that we will be doing is making sure that there is a replacement, a like-for-like, one-for-one replacement.”
Pictured: Boris Johnson leaves No 10 this morning
Michael Gove unable to say what cap will be
Michael Gove, the Housing Secretary, was asked a number of times what the cap will be on how many housing association tenants will be able to buy the home they rent but he was unable to say/
He told Sky News: “We are thinking at the moment about exactly how many can benefit each year and that is something that I will be discussing with housing associations because again of course we have the resources to be able to fund a programme of this kind but we want to make sure housing associations come with us and they recognise that their balance sheets are going to be robust.”
Told that he must have a rough figure for what the cap will be, Mr Gove said: “We have costed it but again I don’t want to get into speculation about the exact number.”
Expansion of Right to Buy will be capped
Michael Gove, the Housing Secretary, has now revealed that the policy will be capped.
Asked if the Government will be providing new money to fund the policy, Mr Gove told Sky News: “It will come from the overall parcel, the overall envelope of Government spending at the moment.
“We expect that we will cap the number of people who will be able to benefit from this initially and then it will grow over time.”
Good morning and welcome to today’s politics live blog.
Boris Johnson will try to get his premiership back on track this afternoon as he delivers a major speech in an attempt to move on from Monday’s bruising confidence vote.
The speech is expected to be wide-ranging as the PM seeks a reset but it will also include a number of new housing policies which have been trailed overnight.
Michael Gove, the Housing Secretary, is on the morning media round for the Government so let’s start by looking at what he has been saying.
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