‘Damaging’ Right to Buy policy is suspended for five years

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Right to Buy is to be suspended for a period of five years.

The Cardiff city council applied for the suspension, which has now been granted by the Welsh government.

The suspension comes as legislation to abolish Right to Buy across the whole of Wales is going through the Assembly.

Welsh communities secretary Carl Sargeant said: “I have agreed to Cardiff Council’s application to suspend the Right to Buy to help them deal with the pressure their social housing is facing and to ensure that homes are available to those who need them.

“While this will help one area for a short period of time, we also need to address this issue for the long term. This is why we are legislating to abolish the Right to Buy in Wales.

“The Right to Buy is depleting our social housing stock. This damaging policy is further increasing the pressure on our social housing supply and is forcing many vulnerable people to wait longer for a home.”

Cllr Lynda Thorne, Cardiff Council cabinet member for housing and communities, said: “Cardiff is one of the UK’s fastest growing cities and with over 8,000 people currently on the waiting list for social housing, we have to do everything we can to ensure we are providing good quality housing for those most in need, both now and into the future.

“In 1985, the council had 23,000 properties, but largely through the right to buy, that figure has reduced our current stock to in the region of 13,400 properties.”

Right to Buy for all council and housing association tenants was ended in Scotland a year ago.

Last year it was announced that in England, Right to Buy would be extended to housing association tenants. However, the policy no longer seems to be at the top of the ‘to do’ list, and there is no timetable for implementation of a proposal that was in the Conservatives’ 2015 manifesto.

However, the Autumn Statement last year said there would be a “large scale” regional pilot among housing association tenants. In March this year, then housing minister Gavin Barwell said he was looking into where the pilot could take place and would be making an announcement “shortly”.

Last month the new housing minister Alok Sharma said: “We are currently considering the extension of Right to Buy discounts across England to housing association tenants, and will announce more details in due course.”

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