Sunday, 21 September 2014

Scottish Government 'must end right to buy'

Reform of the right to buy in Scotland could be derailed by the independence referendum, according to housing organisations.

The Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations said the Scottish Government needs to give a clearer indication of its intentions to scrap the policy before the referendum is in full swing.

The bodies are using former prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s funeral today to renew calls for the policy to be scrapped.

A consultation undertaken by the Scottish Government in 2012 proposed either to reduce discounts or abolish the right altogether. The responses showed that 92 per cent of housing associations in Scotland and 81 per cent of local authorities supported abolition, along with four out of five tenant groups.

The main reason given for supporting abolition was to stem the loss of affordable rented homes from the social rented sector.

Alan Ferguson, director of CIH Scotland, said: ‘Of course we’re speculating, but there’s a fear that the approaching referendum might be leading to a reluctance to progress policies that some tenants might not like. Only prompt reassurance from the Scottish Government that they are indeed intending to act on the clear outcome of the consultation will allay our suspicions.’

Dr Mary Taylor, chief executive of SFHA, said: ‘Scottish people did not generally vote for the introduction of the policy back in 1980 and the Scottish Government now has an opportunity to use its devolved powers to decide once and for all the fate of right to buy.’

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