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Moves To End Right To Buy Houses In Scotland

26th April 2009

Moves to end the Right to Buy for new build social housing in Scotland were formally published today.

The reforms, part of the consultation on the Draft Housing (Scotland) Bill, are aimed at safeguarding social rented housing for future generations.

It is estimated that between 2012 and 2022 these reforms will retain between 10,000 and 18,000 homes for low cost rent that would otherwise be lost through Right to Buy sales.

The consultation also seeks views on other possible Right to Buy reforms, including:
* ending the Right to Buy for new tenants in all social housing property;
* devolving and extending the pressured-area designation process, which can suspend Right to Buy in certain areas
* revising guidance to encourage landlords to give ex-service personnel the opportunity to count the time they spend in armed forces tenancies towards their Right to Buy qualifying period

It also outlines proposals for modernising how social housing is regulated. Key elements of these proposals are:
* introducing a Scottish Social Housing Charter which will set out what social landlords should be delivering for their tenants
* giving the Scottish Housing Regulator statutory independence with the aim of safeguarding and promoting the interests of tenants

Announcing the launch of the consultation today, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Nicola Sturgeon, said: "The Scottish Government is investing record amounts in affordable housing, more than 1.5 billion pounds over three years, despite the tightest settlement from Westminster since devolution.

"In addition, the government is working hard to meet the challenges of the current economic downturn, safeguard jobs, support the construction industry and keep the economy moving. And I am proud to say that in our first year in office more public sector homes were started than at any time since the early 1990s.

"The proposals included in this consultation mean that Councils and housing associations will be able to use the record 1.5 billion pounds investment to build a new generation of affordable homes without the fear that they will be lost to tenants exercising their Right to Buy."

Housing Minister Alex Neil said: "Ending the Right to Buy for new build houses will safeguard social housing for future generations of families across Scotland. Meanwhile modernised regulation will ensure that new and existing social housing delivers improving value for tenants and taxpayers.

"These changes, alongside our efforts to reverse the decades of decline in council house building, backed by 50 million in funding, will support councils to begin building homes again.

"The Scottish Government is determined that local authorities have a vital role to play in providing people and their families with access to good quality homes that they can afford."

The Consultation paper and Draft Bill can be found at
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2009/04/27095102/0

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