Scotland waves goodbye to Right To Buy

A policy which enabled tenants in Scotland to buy their council homes has come to an end this week.

The Right To Buy expired at midnight on Sunday, 31 July, after SMPs voted in 2014 to scrap the scheme.

Nearly half a million council homes have been sold off at discount prices since the policy was introduced by Margaret Thatcher over 30 years ago.

The Scottish government said the move to scrap Right To Buy would protect the remaining 15,000 social homes available as the country faces a shortage in the social rented sector.

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations which campaigned for the abolition of the Right to Buy, said the end “hasn’t come a moment too soon”. Dr Mary Taylor CEO Scottish Federation of Housing Associations commented:

“SFHA is delighted that all forms of the right to buy policy in Scotland have now come to an end and this hasn’t come a moment too soon. Right to buy has had its day and has no place in modern Scotland. Going forward, we have a chance in Scotland to adopt a housing policy that is focused on the supply of well-designed, energy efficient social rented homes that are truly affordable to people on low incomes.”

Graeme Brown, director of homelessness charity Shelter Scotland, added:

“Now that right-to-buy is consigned to history – and with a waiting list of 150,000 for a council house – what Scotland desperately needs now is a step change in the delivery of affordable housing. We need to build at least 12,000 new affordable homes a year to meaningfully tackle Scotland’s housing crisis. We also need a new national homelessness strategy to get to grips with the root causes of homelessness.”

The Right to Buy in Scotland was established by the Tenants’ Rights, Etc. (Scotland) Act 1980. Between the years 1979-80 and 2014-15 a total of 494,580 council and housing association homes were sold under the legislation.

The Scottish Parliament’s Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 provided for Right to Buy to come to an end on 31 July 2016.