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Wales scraps Right to Buy scheme

Council tenants in Wales will no longer be offered the right to purchase their council homes as the country seeks to ‘safeguard’ its social housing stock. 

The policy announcement by the Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones comes just a week after Scotland pressed ahead with plans to abolish Right to Buy north of the border, 37 years after it was first introduced by Margaret Thatcher.

MSPs voted to scrap the measure two years ago following concerns that it had contributed to a severe shortage of affordable homes to rent and buy in Scotland.

Right to Buy schemes allow sitting tenants to buy public-sector housing, often with a discount on the market value. But there is nothing to then prevent them selling these units on at a later stage, many of which have been sold to property investors over the years.

John Perry, policy adviser at the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “Right to Buy offers an enormous benefit to those it benefits directly, but the effect on future tenants is the main problem, because of the refusal to recycle all the receipts and replace the lost properties.”

Many buy-to-let landlords specialise in acquiring and renting out ex-local authority housing as they typically offer above average rental returns. But Carwyn Jones is clear that Wales must now safeguard its social housing stock.

“This bill will seek to protect that stock from further reductions. The analogy I have used before is that it is like trying to fill the bath up with the plug out,” he said. 

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