Government allows Flintshire County Council to suspend ‘Right to Buy’ scheme for 5 years
The Right to Buy will be suspended for five years in Flintshire First Minister Carwyn Jones announced last week.
The move comes ahead of the Welsh Government introducing legislation to abolish the Right to Buy across the whole of Wales.
The Right to Buy allows eligible social housing tenants across the UK to buy their council or housing association property at a discount.
The proposed legislation will end these rights, protecting social housing stock from further reduction.
[miptheme_quote author=”First Minister Carwyn Jones” style=”text-left”]I have agreed to Flintshire 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.[/miptheme_quote]
Over the last 25 years the number of council homes available for rent in Flintshire has reduced through Right to Buy sales, whilst the number of people in need of council housing has continued to rise.
The Council Leader Aaron Shotton said;
I am pleased that the First Minister has approved our request to suspend the Right to Buy scheme in Flintshire.
The Right to Buy policy has seen the depletion of our much needed social housing stock, the suspension of Right to Buy along with our extensive new build programme of council houses for our residents secures the provision of quality affordable housing in Flintshire and builds on one of this Council’s top priorities
Between 1996 and 2016, over 1600 council houses were sold in the county, many of these homes end up in the private rented sector and, as a result, cost local people more to rent and, in some cases, the public purse more in housing benefit.
During 2016, the Council started its Strategic Housing And Regeneration Programme (SHARP) which will see 500 new council and affordable homes built across Flintshire by 2020.
Clare Budden, Chief Officer Community and Enterprise said;
Suspending the Right to Buy is essential for maximising the housing opportunities for all individuals and families living across Flintshire and it reinforces our future plans for the continuing modernisation and investment in Council homes and services for our tenants.
Flintshire County Council became the first local authority in Wales with plans to start buying back council homes.
Councillors agreed on proposals which will see the introduction of a new policy to buy back former council homes previously sold under the Right to Buy (RTB) scheme.
Changes came into force in 2005 under the scheme which meant any ex council homes being put up for sale by owners have to be offered to the council on a first refusal basis for up to 10 years from the date of purchase.
Since this change covenants have been placed on all properties sold to ensure that the council has the option to buy back properties sold that have been subject to future sale.
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