Iain Duncan Smith wants to "give away" millions of council houses to low paid workers as a reward for coming off benefits.
According to the Times (£), the proposal - which it says could be included in the Conservative manifesto - would see houses "gifted" to tenants if they had stayed in work for a year.
The tenants would no longer be eligible for housing benefit and would be required to pay 35 per cent of the house price in tax if they sold it within three years.
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, spoke of his "despair" at the "genuinely stupid idea" and wrote in a blog post that, for struggling housing associations, the proposal will seem a "hollow joke".
[The housing crisis] has many different components but at the heart of it is the reality that we have not built nearly enough of the right homes in the right place at the right price for a generation or more... Of all the daft ideas I’ve heard in a career in housing, this is the daftest.
The National Housing Federation added that housing associations are borrowing £50bn to build new homes and would be unable to repay those debts if the scheme was used.
We’ll be told, of course, that opposing Right To Buy is to oppose aspiration. This is rubbish. Over the last decade, housing associations have sold 82,000 shared ownership properties and continue to develop new homes across all tenures so that we can meet the aspirations of as many people as possible to have a decent, affordable home.