Local councils should have the right to buy up any house that is offered for sale, as part of a longer term plan to bring all private property under public control – so says Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle.
The MP for Brighton Kemptown, who is an ardent supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, is reported to have told a recent Labour meeting: “Let’s not just talk about council houses – let’s get those bloody private houses back into our hands.
“We need to develop a system that slowly over time takes property out of private hands and puts it into public hands.
“For example, why not give every council the first right of refusal with any houses put up for sale?
“And I don’t mean a former council house – I mean your private house.”
The Labour MP is also reported to have told the meeting that local authorities should be able to disregard planning laws and build new houses wherever they see fit.
Local authorities already have the right of first refusal enabling them to buy back any council property sold off under the Right to Buy scheme within the last ten years. In recent years a number of local authorities have bought back properties they previously owned. For example, in 2017 it was reported that Islington Council had spent £6.2m buying back council homes it had sold for £1.3m. However, even where there is local political will to do so, budgetary constraints prevent such rights from being exercised to any great degree.