Right-to-buy would mean stripping the assets of independent charities, peers hear
Government proposals to extend the right-to-buy scheme to housing associations could undermine charity law that goes back centuries and would mean seizing assets of independent charities, the House of Lords heard this week.
Baroness Hollis of Heigham, a Labour peer and the chair of Broadland Housing Association, was speaking in a debate about the Queen’s Speech. She questioned the “legal basis of the government’s right to seize the assets of independent charities, given that they will have to unpick myriad overlapping laws that go back centuries”.
She said: “Housing associations are charities, not public authorities. Their £60 billion mortgage debt is not on the public accounts any more than landlords’ mortgages are. They are independent charities, many of which are a century old, financed often by gifts from local benefactors.