Call for Right to Buy rethink

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations is urging the first minister to change the Right to Buy policy.

The SFHA wants the Scottish Executive policy on Right to Buy changed to provide a boost to Scotland’s dwindling supply of affordable rented housing.

In a letter to the first minister Jack McConnell, the SFHA points out that by excluding the Right to Buy policy from new council and housing association tenancies, 200,000 houses could be removed from eligibility for Right to Buy between 2007-12.

Additionally, rented housing supply could be further protected by abandoning the extension of Right to Buy to thousands of housing association properties in 2012.

The letter coincides with the launch of the SFHA’s campaign booklet, Stop the Housing Drain, which calls for changes to be made as soon as possible after the Executive has reported to parliament on Right to Buy in 2006.

David Bookbinder, policy co- ordinator at the SFHA, says: “We’re not calling for the Right to Buy scheme to be scrapped altogether. Our proposals don’t involve taking the Right to Buy away from tenants who currently have that right in their existing tenancy.

“What we’re saying is that from a given date, new council and housing association tenancies should not include the Right to Buy so people taking up those tenancies will do so in the full knowledge of what the tenancy involves.

“Many people don’t realise that so much of the new housing the Scottish Executive is funding goes straight into eligibility for Right to Buy. This is economic madness at a time when decent rented housing is in such short supply. The sooner the law is changed, the sooner we can protect new and existing rented housing.”