SNP scraps right to buy for Scottish council tenants

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The SNP has scrapped the right to buy for council and social housing tenants, saying it had "had its day".

In a speech to the SNP conference Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish health minister who also has responsibility for housing, blamed a shortage of affordable rented housing in Scotland for her decision to scrap it.

Miss Sturgeon said: "Our ambition substantially to increase the supply of homes for rent will be frustrated if we then sell them off under the right to buy. That is why I believe that the right to buy has had its day. We will bring forward proposals to abolish the right to buy for all new tenants."

A recent report by Shelter Scotland, the housing charity, showed that there were fewer social homes for rent than at any time since 1959 and alleged that "much of that decline has been as a result of right to buy".

But Mary Scanlon, Scottish Tory housing spokesman, accused Miss Sturgeon of "an act of political vandalism" and of sacrificing "this popular and successful policy at the altar of left-wing ideology". She said: "It is a sad day for many people who hope that one day their status will change from tenant to owner. Future tenants will be denied the choice of home ownership due to the SNP political ideology taking priority over personal choice."

Labour said the real problem was the SNP's plan to cut funding for its housing programme by £260m and called for councils to decide if right to buy should be suspended in their areas.