Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Affodable Homes - Right to Buy not a barrier

Shelter Scotland are urging the Scottish Executive to abolish the right to buy.
The reasons are ostensibly understandable - there is a shortage of affordable homes to rent. Their thinking, however, is flawed: retaining a sitting tenant (by preventing them from buying) does not create a new home or shorten the waiting list.

Allowing a council house to be bought, does not make it disappear from overall stock. The occupants who, up to the time of purchasing, are council tenants, become home owner occupiers; owners indeed, of a house bought affordably. The Right to Buy is truly an affordable home purchase scheme. Well done Mrs Thatcher.

Some reforms are necessary. For example, all revenues raised should have to be used to support further access to affordable homes. The best way, I believe, would be to turn the revenue into grants to those on the waiting lists, towards deposits for new homes - in other words, used to subsidise purchase, making purchase more affordable. A variety of ways could be devised. 

Let's stop knocking a policy that has achieved a high home ownership ratio - an advance from the time when Scotland had fewer home owners proportionately than then communist East Germany.

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