The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has welcomed the news that Aberdeen City Council has voted to suspend the Right to Buy in 50 letting areas of the city (1).
The SFHA is calling for the Right to Buy to be scrapped altogether in Scotland, to protect scarce social housing.
Andy Young Policy Manager at (SFHA) said:
“We welcome the news that Aberdeen City Council has suspended the modernised Right to Buy suspended in many of its communities. Right to Buy is a policy which has seen half a million homes lost to the affordable sector in Scotland.
“The Scottish Government has in recent years passed legislation to restrict the modernised Right to Buy for all new tenants and new build properties. The government has also made it clear that they might be prepared to restrict the Right to Buy even further. The SFHA supports this and calls on the Scottish Government to be bold.”
“In these difficult economic times, a plentiful supply of well-managed and affordable rented stock is more important than ever. Right to Buy is a policy which has had its day and should now be scrapped.”
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1) Aberdeen City Council press release http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/CouncilNews/ci_cns/pr_pressured_area_220512.asp
2) Right to Buy: The Facts
o There are two forms of Right to Buy currently existing in Scotland: the original form, introduced by the Thatcher government in 1980 (which offers extremely attractive discounts), and the Modernised Right to Buy introduced in Scotland in 2001, which offers less attractive discounts.
o The statutory right for a sitting tenant to purchase their home was introduced by the Conservative Westminster Government in 1980.
o In Scotland, this has seen half a million properties sold and removed from the rented stock.
o Around 70,000 properties owned by housing associations will come into Right To Buy eligibility in September 2012. The vast majority of these properties do not lie in areas currently subject to Pressured Area Status, so it is difficult to see much prospect of these properties being protected from RTB without Ministerial intervention.
o It is estimated that up to 200,000 tenants in Scotland currently qualify for either the original or Modernised Right to Buy.
o Several areas of Scotland have recently successfully applied for Pressured Area Status whereby the Right to Buy is suspended: these include Moray, parts of Stirling, North Lanarkshire and Aberdeenshire.
3) The SFHA was established in 1975 and has around 170 members providing affordable housing and wider community services in Scotland, as well as a further 200 commercial members. The SFHA is owned by its membership and exists to support the work of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland by providing services, advice and good practice guidance.
4) The SFHA is the voice of the principal builders and managers of new affordable housing for rent in Scotland. Housing Associations own and manage around 40% of the country’s affordable rented housing stock, over a quarter of a million homes across Scotland.
5) Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.