Minister throws down gauntlet on right to buy
The Scottish Government is prepared to take a more radical approach to limiting the Right to Buy but needs the support of other parties, according to Housing Minister Alex Neil.The Scottish Government is prepared to take a more radical approach to limiting the Right to Buy but needs the support of other parties, according to Housing Minister Alex Neil.
Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland’s annual conference, Mr Neil said that the changes already proposed in the Housing Bill would keep 18,000 houses out of the Right to Buy over the next 10 years. Although he ruled out a complete abolition of the Right to Buy in Scotland as this could not attract Parliamentary backing, he said he was prepared to consider further limitations if the government could get sufficient support as a minority administration.
Craig Stirrat, CIH Scotland Chair, said: "CIH Scotland is keen to see the Parliament support the existing proposals on Right to Buy. It makes sense for the main focus to be on getting the current proposals onto the statute book rather than risk jeopardising the proposals by taking an even more radical approach."
The Minister also announced that he would be publishing a wide-reaching Green Paper on how Scotland could shape housing policy over the next 10 years in the context of the recession and reductions in public expenditure across the UK. The Minister said there would be extensive consultation with housing bodies, tenants and other stakeholders over the summer, culminating in a White Paper from the Scottish Government in the Autumn.
New funding mechanisms would feature prominently in the Green Paper, according to the Minister, who said that whilst grant funding for new building would continue, this on its own would not provide the number of new homes needed. Using pension fund finance for affordable housing provision and maximising use of the European Investment Bank would be among the ideas raised in the Green Paper.