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Right to buy comes to an end in Scotland and new measures under review to address UK’s housing shortage

As the UK’s housing crisis comes under ever greater scrutiny, last week Scotland’s right-to-buy came to a close, following a vote by MSPs in 2014 to end the scheme in an attempt to protect housing in the social rented sector.

Following Scotland’s lead, the Welsh government will also introduce a bill to abolish the right-to-buy over the coming months.

Both developments are in sharp contrast to the UK government’s decision to extend the right-to-buy scheme further in England, and come as The Resolution Foundation publishes its latest findings revealing that home ownership has fallen to its lowest levels in 30 years.

While a rise in ownership levels was seen in 2014, the reports indicates that overall the percentage of people owning their own homes has been slowly falling and now stands at 63.8% - a figure not seen since 1986.

Hoping to address the affordability issue of homes to rent and buy, different political factions are carrying out further research and setting out action plans.

The Tory Reform Group (TRG) has just launched a new project that will review housing policy, and as part of that project it has issued a call for evidence ‘seeking innovative policy proposals to address the two-fold challenge of availability and affordability of homes to rent and buy.’

Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile has pledged to guarantee ‘secure homes for all’, stating that under his leadership Labour would ‘…build a million new homes in five years, with at least half a million council homes...’.

The pledge goes on to say that he would end insecurity for private renters by introducing rent controls, secure tenancies and a charter of private tenants’ rights, and increase access to affordable home ownership.

The first meeting of Prime Minister Theresa May’s new economy and industrial strategy cabinet committee has also now taken place.

The new committee is to deliver one of the government’s top three priorities – “an economy that works for everyone, with a strong industrial strategy at its heart” – and brings together secretaries of state from over ten government departments. Long-term productivity growth, encouraging innovation and supporting the industries and technologies that will give the UK a competitive advantage, will be the key focuses for the committee.


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