Scotland politics

Councils back end of right to buy housing policy

Image caption Ministers are looking at options to protect and increase affordable housing

A majority of Scottish councils want the right to buy for council and social housing tenants scrapped, a government report has said.

Many tenants and social landlords also want to see an end to the policy, according to a consultation.

The Scottish government has already ended right to buy for new tenants, amid concern over a shortage of rented affordable homes.

Right to buy has also been suspended by a number of local authorities.

Ministers are currently considering proposals to protect and increase the supply of affordable housing.

The government's consultation on the issue got 169 responses in total from registered social landlords, tenant and resident groups, councils, charities and others.

Of the 161 respondents which answered the question on ending right to buy altogether, 83% said the policy - introduced in the early 80s - should go.

In all, 92% of social landlords, 81% of councils and 80% of tenant and resident groups which responses said right to buy should be scrapped.

Policy suspended

The policy was introduced by the Thatcher government to make owning a home more affordable and, since its introduction, more than 500,000 homes have been sold in Scotland.

But in recent years councils have been forced to suspend the policy, as their stock of social housing to rent has dwindled.

The Scottish government's 2010 Housing Act brought in several changes, including ending right to buy for new council and social housing tenants, alongside a three-year £1.5bn house-building plan.

Ministers said stopping all new tenants from buying their homes could see up to 18,000 properties retained over 10 years.

The Scottish government said it would respond to the consultation in due course.

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