Referendum may be derailing right to buy reform, say housing bodies

Referendum may be derailing right to buy reform, say housing bodies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 16, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Reform of the right to buy in Scotland could be derailed by the independence referendum, according to two leading national housing bodies.

The Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations say that despite overwhelming support for outright abolition of the right to buy in last year’s consultation, Ministers have given no indication of their decision on what will go into the forthcoming Housing Bill.

The 2012 consultation proposed either to reduce discounts or abolish the right altogether. In November it was reported that 92% of RSLs and 81% of the local authorities supported abolition, along with four out of five tenant groups. The main reason given for supporting abolition was to stem the loss of affordable rented homes from the social rented sector.

Alan Ferguson, Director of CIH Scotland, said:

“Ministers are said to be ‘considering the options’, but one might imagine that this would have been undertaken prior to the options being presented in the consultation. Given the outcome of the consultation, it’s a real concern that everything has gone quiet.

“Of course we’re speculating, but there’s a fear that the approaching referendum might be leading to a reluctance to progress policies that some tenants might not like. Only prompt reassurance from the Scottish Government that they are indeed intending to act on the clear outcome of the consultation will allay our suspicions”.

Dr Mary Taylor, Chief Executive of SFHA, said:

“Scottish people did not generally vote for the introduction of the policy back in 1980 and the Scottish Government now has an opportunity to use its devolved powers to decide once and for all the fate of right to buy.

It’s a worry if the referendum is having a ‘don’t rock the boat’ impact on the regular business of progressing important legislation. The future of the right to buy now needs to be addressed in as transparent and decisive a way as possible”.

Contact: David Bookbinder on 07950 684153

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