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Welsh Government introduces law to abolish Right to Buy

The Welsh Government has introduced proposed legislation to abolish the Right to Buy and associated rights.

The law would also affect the Preserved Right to Buy and the Right to Acquire.

Abolition would take place following a period of at least one year after the legislation receives Royal Assent.

The Welsh Government said its aim was to protect the Welsh stock of social housing from further reduction, “ensuring it is available to provide safe, secure and affordable housing for people who are unable to take advantage of the housing market to buy or rent a home”.

It added that, to encourage the development of new social housing, the Bill, if passed by the National Assembly for Wales, would provide that the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire would end for new homes two months after Royal Assent.

“This will help encourage social landlords to build new homes in the knowledge that they will not be at risk of being sold after only a relatively short period,” it claimed.

Communities Secretary Carl Sargeant said: "Our social housing is a valuable resource, but it is under considerable pressure. The size of the stock has declined significantly since 1980 when the Right to Buy was introduced. The number of sales is equivalent to 45% of the social housing stock in 1981. This has resulted in people in housing need, many of whom are vulnerable, waiting longer to access a home they can afford.

"The Bill supports the Welsh Government’s wider aims of a more prosperous and fairer Wales, helping to tackle poverty by protecting our stock of social housing from further reduction.”

Sargeant said the Welsh Government recognised that the proposal affected existing tenants of local authorities and registered social landlords, and so it would “ensure tenants are made aware of the effect of the Bill in good time before abolition takes place”.

The Bill is to require the Welsh Government to publish information, which social landlords in turn must provide to every affected tenant, within two months of the Bill receiving Royal Assent.

Cllr Dyfed Edwards, the Welsh Local Government Association spokesperson for Housing, said: "At a time of acute shortages of social rented homes, and with many thousands of people currently on housing waiting lists, the proposal from the Welsh Government to abolish right to buy is a welcome step in tackling a growing problem in Wales. It is essential that people’s access is improved to good quality social rented housing in order to enhance people’s lives, and also to revitalise local communities.”