ConservativeHome's ToryDiary reports on a Right-to-Move policy to be announced tomorrow by Grant Shapps. Under this scheme, "good social tenants can demand that their social landlord sell their current property and use the proceeds, minus transaction costs, to buy another property of their choice – anywhere in England. The new home will remain a state-owned property but will aid mobility."
The policy was developed by Tim Leunig (of the LSE) for Policy Exchange. Tim has some interesting ideas, but he is stronger on transport (which I understand is his speciality) than housing and planning issues. It was Tim, for example, who was partially responsible for the Policy Exchange paper suggesting that we should stop resisting London's economic gravitational force, allowing some northern cities to die and developing more cities in the south (as though it is the job of a central-planning office to decide this sort of movement). And it was Tim who came up with the scheme to deliver cheap social-housing by getting landholders to sell land cheap to councils who would then grant themselves planning permission and sell the land to developers at a large profit.
This latest idea exceeds Tim's usual daftness when he ventures away from transport. As I posted in the comments at ToryDiary:
Right-to-buy was about moving people from the public sector to the private sector.
Right-to-move is about keeping people in the public sector, but trying to pretend that the public sector can be made to offer similar flexibility and freedoms to the market.
I'd rather social-housing was as inflexible as possible, to give people the incentives to get out of it. It should be a minimal safety-net, not a public service.
Better still, change the welfare system to a Basic Income (BI) including an allowance for minimal rent, place an obligation on councils to provide housing to minimal standards at costs linked to the BI to people falling into tightly-controlled eligibility criteria (with costs recovered from local taxation), and leave it to people and markets to choose what to do about their accommodation.
Typical Cameroon/Policy Exchange idea. It has little in common, other than the name, with Right-to-buy. Tim, you're much better at transport; I'd stick to that, if I were you.