The passage at Stage 3 of the Housing (Scotland) Bill which will scrap the right to buy has been welcomed today as a key part of efforts to tackle waiting lists for council homes.
Two years after the bill receives Royal Assent, the right to buy will be abolished for all local authority and housing association tenants, having already been withdrawn for first time tenants since March 2011.
The passage of the Bill thereby brings to an end one of Mrs Thatcher’s flagship policies. Many former council homes bought under the right to buy end up in the private rented sector, leading to higher benefit costs than would otherwise be necessary.
The abolition of the right to buy is expected to protect up to 15,500 homes in the socially rented sector which would otherwise be lost over the next decade.
Commenting, SNP MSP Maureen Watt said:
“The right to buy is an idea that has had its day and has seen 455,000 properties taken out of the social sector while 184,887 people were on local authority housing waiting lists last year.
“That is a situation which is simply not sustainable and ending the right to buy is an important step forward.
“It will ensure that council homes are no longer lost to the socially rented sector and help to bring down waiting lists as more affordable homes are built.
“The SNP Government is on track to deliver 30,000 affordable homes by March 2016, with 1,324 council homes built in 2013/14 alone – the highest number since a new generation of council house construction was kickstarted in 2009. In contrast, the previous Labour/LibDem administration built just six council homes during the four years of their last term in office.
“I am confident that with the right to buy coming to an end, even greater progress in tackling waiting lists for social housing will now be possible.”