The Highland Council Backs An End To Tenants' Right To Buy
28th August 2012
The Highland Council is to support an option being considered by the Scottish Government to end the right that Council house tenants have to buy their homes. The Council believes that ending the right to buy will help it meet the growing demand for affordable rented accommodation as housing waiting lists grow.
In a submission to the Scottish Government's consultation "The Future of Right to Buy in Scotland", the Council highlights that 57% (15,244 houses) of its housing stock has been sold through right to buy since 1981.
Pressured Area Status, covering most of the Highlands apart from a few Caithness communities, was introduced in 2005 to stem the loss of Council homes. Last year, 79 Council houses were sold through the right to buy.
In its submission, the Council says: "The sale of social rented stock has contributed to the chronic housing shortage and increase in pressure on housing and homelessness across the Highlands. In rural communities, sales have seriously depleted the housing stock available to meet local housing need. Moreover, research indicates that ex-Council properties sold on the open market are often unaffordable to many local households.
Councillor Dave Fallows, Chairman of the Finance Housing and Resources Committee, said: "We very much welcome this consultation. Like the Scottish Government we recognise that many people want to own their own homes but we do not believe that this should be at the expense of homes in the social rented sector, particularly given the very great need for, and the serious and persistent shortage, of these houses and the limited availability of public funds. There is a chronic and persistent lack of social rented housing in Highland which is projected to persist in the future. Pressures are not diminishing and are expected to increase with the changes to homelessness duties and the effects of welfare reforms."
With Storm Caroline hitting the Highlands yesterday, today's heavy snowfall and the forecast for a drop in temperatures over the next 48 hours, the Highland Council's crews and winter vehicles have been busy in action. The fleet includes 105 gritters, 42 footpath tractors and over the coming months 200 plus staff will be providing winter maintenance services.
Wick Campus, including Wick High School, Newtonpark Primary School and High Life Highland Leisure facilities will remain closed on Friday 8 December 2017. The closure is due to high winds during Storm Caroline today which caused some damage to part of the roof of the Wick campus gym, causing the metal flashing around a roof light to become detached.
Following the high winds forecast and experienced this week due to Storm Caroline, The Highland Council is encouraging landowners to check trees and vegetation near to public roads which may have been damaged. Roads affected by fallen trees this morning were near Beauly; Achnagarron near Invergordon and Lochaber which staff are clearing.
The high winds during Storm Caroline today have caused some damage to part of the roof of the Wick campus gym, causing the metal flashing around a roof light to become detached. The school was already closed to pupils today due to the adverse weather.
Road condition reports by The Highland Council's Community Services for the morning of Thursday 7 December 2017 are as follows: Caithness and Sutherland: Most roads are affected by snow and ice. Treatment in progress.
The Highland Council expresses its deep disappointment at the news of further branch closures by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Leader of the Highland Council Margaret Davidson said: "This will cause real difficulties for many customers and small businesses.
Highland consumers who have lost money to a scam involving payment through Western Union wire transfer between 1st January 2004 and 19th January 2017, are being encouraged by Highland Council Trading Standards to file a claim for a refund with America's Federal Trade Commission in a bid to get some or if not all of their money back. In January 2017, Western Union agreed to pay $586 million for turning a blind eye to scammers and other criminals who used its service to trick customers into paying for bogus prizes, loans, jobs, discounted products and other financial rewards in exchange for money upfront.
The Highland Council and Department for Work and Pensions are implementing plans to improve accessibility to their services. This joint venture will see the jobcentre staff co-locating with the Council and other services in the council's new modern office developments in both Fort William and Wick.
City-region deal investment means that Inverness can now be branded a digital city. Ness WiFi, a free WiFi service, which was successfully piloted earlier this year, has now been rolled out across Inverness city centre, extending to and including areas such as the High Street, the Castle, Eden Court, and the bus and railway stations.
Leisure and cultural venues currently run by council arm's-length bodies will continue to benefit from charity relief from non-domestic rates. Following lengthy consultation with stakeholders, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay today confirmed that the Scottish Government will not be accepting the recommendation of the Barclay Review to end this benefit.
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