MSPs support plan to abolish right-to-buy in Scotland

Image caption,
The legislation was brought forward to tackle housing shortages

Scottish government plans to abolish the right to buy for new council and social housing tenants have won initial backing from MSPs.

Holyrood's local government committee gave its support to the Housing Bill, which also aims to beef up protection for tenants through a new housing regulator.

The bill also sets out measures for taking action against rogue landlords.

But MSPs raised concern there was no extra incentive to tackle this problem.

The bill still faces several parliamentary votes before becoming law.

Local government committee convener, Duncan McNeil, a Labour MSP, said: "Although the committee agrees with the general principles of the bill, we believe it would have been more effective if the Scottish government had wrapped up the legislation contained in this Housing (Scotland) Bill with that planned for the private sector bill, due to be introduced later this session.

"We are unconvinced by the government's arguments that urgency on HMO licensing and private landlords justified two separate bills."

Mr McNeil added: "We are also concerned that there's been no additional incentive for local authorities to prosecute rogue landlords who don't register and it doesn't appear the bill will address this."

Scottish ministers say the right to buy, introduced by Margaret Thatcher's government, had had its day, and action was needed to tackle shortages in rented housing.

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