18000 boost to social housing with end of ‘Right To Buy’

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Scotland’s social housing stock is set to benefit to the tune of 18000 homes as a new law that will end the Right To Buy (RTB) moved a step closer.  The SNP had pledged to remove the policy originally introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government. 

It is widely accepted that RTB has led to a chronic shortage of social housing across Scotland as stock was snapped up by tenants at prices well below market value….


Scotland’s social housing stock is set to benefit to the tune of 18000 homes as a new law that will end the Right To Buy (RTB) moved a step closer.  The SNP had pledged to remove the policy originally introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government. 

It is widely accepted that RTB has led to a chronic shortage of social housing across Scotland as stock was snapped up by tenants at prices well below market value.

In the Scottish Parliament, MSPs debated the Housing Bill, a new package of measures to improve the supply and quality of housing in Scotland.  Once the legislation comes into force, RTB for new social housing and for new tenants in social housing will be scrapped.

The Government also promised tough legislation to crack down on rogue private landlords. Detailed proposals will be announced after discussion with the Local Government and Communities Committee.

Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil said:
“The Housing Bill effectively means that the last rites have been given to Right to Buy.

“Over a ten year period that could mean up to 18,000 houses being saved for social renting that otherwise would be lost, the equivalent of three years’ worth of new supply in the sector.

“Last week, this Government unveiled measures to deal with rogue landlords operating in Glasgow’s Govanhill. We want to act decisively on growing public concern about the small minority of irresponsible private landlords whose behaviour is a blight on communities across Scotland.

“We intend to put in place legislation that will stop in their tracks those trading in the misery of their tenants. I will be discussing with the Local Government and Communities Committee how best to get that legislation in place later this year.”

Abolishing the RTB scheme was backed by housing charity Shelter and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.

Labour and the Tories both criticised the move when originally proposed, Labour accusing the SNP of being stuck in an 80’s time warp.

Labour’s deputy leader Johann Lamont said at the time: “The SNP is completely missing the point on housing by trying to revisit the 1980s and tinkering with the right-to-buy, instead of providing enough money to build more homes.”

Labour’s term in office saw six council houses built in the whole of Scotland.

Between April and December last year, the Scottish government allocated £50 million to help fund construction work on 2,300 new council houses and support an estimated 3,000 construction jobs.

Construction recruitment received a further boost with the allocation of a further £25 million for the erection of even more social housing.

Last month also saw Aberdeen’s first major council housing development for three decades where construction of almost 90 council houses began.