Right-to-buy housing bill: Scrap plan welcomed

Housing associations have welcomed plans to scrap tenants’ right to buy their council houses.

Housing associations have welcomed plans to scrap the right-to-buy scheme. Picture: Getty
Housing associations have welcomed plans to scrap the right-to-buy scheme. Picture: Getty

The Housing (Scotland) Bill will be debated at Holyrood today and includes provisions to scrap right-to-buy and reduce anti-social behaviour.

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has welcomed the abolition of right-to-buy but warned against raising tenant expectations in relation to how swiftly anti-social behaviour can be dealt with.

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The Infrastructure and Capital Investment (ICI) Committee is taking oral evidence from various housing bodies, including the SFHA, on the general principles of the Bill.

Andy Young, SFHA policy and membership manager, will tell the committee: “The Housing Bill is very well intentioned, but, while quite bold in places, does not go far enough in others.

“We are delighted that the Scottish Government has decided to end all forms of the right-to-buy in Scotland.

“Right-to-buy has had its day and has no place in 21st century Scotland. It has been beneficial to a relatively small number of individuals but clearly a loss to the greater public good.

“Half a million social rented homes have been lost in the 30 years of this policy in Scotland; very often the better stock in the more popular areas.

“The SFHA and its members have campaigned for its abolition for years and we thank the Scottish Government for listening closely to the arguments which we put forward.”

He added: “Some of the other measures in the Bill around managing tenancies seem to strike a reasonable balance between allowing landlords to take more robust action and affording more protection for tenants by ensuring that landlords are fully accountable for any such action.

“However, the introduction of these measures alone is not a panacea to tackle anti-social behaviour.

“This will still require a multi-agency approach and a less congested court system, and there is a danger that the expectations of those tenants whose lives are blighted by the thoughtless actions of their neighbours will be raised to unrealistic levels by some of the language being used by the Scottish Government.

“The measures contained in the Bill are but a small part of the overall action required to properly tackle antisocial behaviour.”