Scrapping of Right to Buy divides local opinion

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John Lamont has slammed the Government for deciding to stop right-to-buy, depriving tenants the opportunity of buying the property they rent at a discounted rate.

But Berwickshire Housing Association chief executive Helen Forsyth said at a time when the demand for rental properties is higher than ever the abolishing of the scheme should help alleviate some of the pressure.

The policy was first introduced by the Conservative Government in 1980, and proved to be popular as it helped almost half a million people to own their home for the first time.

Almost 300,000 people in Scotland would currently qualify for the scheme but are now set to lose out following the announcement that the scheme was to be abolished last week.

The decision comes after the SNP chose to cut £60million from the housing budget.

Mr Lamont commented: “Right to buy has been a hugely successful policy not only in Scotland but throughout the UK.

“I know many people took pride in being able to buy the home that they were renting, despite being on a modest income at the time.

“This not only helped them onto the property ladder but gave many better choices about their future and gave them a financial security that before simply wasn’t possible. It is no wonder therefore that it proved to be hugely popular with hundreds of thousands of people taking advantage of it.

“It is therefore bewildering that the SNP have chosen to take this opportunity away from the latest generation of council tenants.

“It is a backwards step and will only serve to further the gap between those who can one day aspire to own their own home, and those the SNP want to deny the same opportunity.”

Helen Forsyth, chief executive of BHA took the opposite stance to Mr Lamont, arguing that by allowing Right to Buy to continue, the Government would be make things worse for housing associations and the people looking to rent homes from them.

She commented: We welcome the Scottish Government decision to end the Right to Buy.

“There is a huge demand and pressure on existing BHA housing stock with over 1500 people waiting for a house and only 119 houses available for relet in the last year.

“The continual loss of stock due to Right to Buy would only contribute to this situation getting worse in our communities.

“This is an even bigger issue now in times of increasing financial hardship and the impact of Welfare Reform which is starting to have implications both internally and on our customers.”