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Right to Buy ban bill launched in Wales

Words: Laura Edgar
Housing / iStock_000074406885

The Welsh Government has put a bill banning the Right to Buy and associated rights before the National Assembly for Wales.

The bill will provide for the Right to Buy, the Preserved Right to Buy and the Right to Acquire for local authority tenants and registered social landlords to be abolished one year after Royal Assent.

The Welsh Government said it is aiming to protect the Welsh stock of social housing from further reduction to ensure that it remains available to provide “safe, secure and affordable housing” for people who are unable to take advantage of the housing market to buy or rent a home.

To encourage the development of new social housing, the Welsh Government said that if the bill were passed it would see Right to Buy and Right to Acquire end for new homes two months after Royal Assent.

Welsh communities secretary Carl Sargeant said: "Our social housing is a valuable resource, but it is under considerable pressure. The size of the stock has declined significantly since 1980, when the Right to Buy was introduced. The number of sales is equivalent to 45 per cent of the social housing stock in 1981. This has resulted in people in housing need, many of whom are vulnerable, waiting longer to access a home they can afford.”

The bill, he said, supports the Welsh Government’s wider aims of a more prosperous and fairer Wales, helping to tackle poverty by protecting its stock of social housing from further reduction.

"I recognise the proposal affects existing tenants and we will ensure tenants are made aware of the effect of the bill in good time before abolition takes place. The bill will require the Welsh Government to publish information, which social landlords in turn must provide to every affected tenant, within two months of the bill receiving Royal Assent.”

Sergeant referred to other Welsh Government schemes, including Help to Buy and Rent to Own, stating that “we are supporting low-cost home ownership and we are expanding the social housing stock”.

“Abolishing the Right to Buy will complement these other actions we are taking in order to support people in housing need.”

Last year, the Right to Buy scheme ended in Scotland.

MSPs voted to end it in 2014, despite a final-hour attempt by Conservative ministers to block the bill with an amendment. It was voted down 103 to 12.

Image credit | iStock