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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."

 

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