SNP to scrap right-to-buy

The SNP-led Scottish executive will scrap tenants’ right-to-buy in a bid to ease housing problems in the country.

Planned new council houses will not be eligible for sale in a rejection of Margaret Thatcher’s right-to-buy policy, which has been accused of decimating housing stock.

Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said the executive wants to increase new home building by 50 per cent to at least 35,000 a year by 2015.

Present plans for 25,000 new homes are year are “simply inadequate,” she claimed.

Ms Sturgeon challenged councils, developers and builders to meet rising demand for homes, saying there had been a “30-year run down” in council housing.

Local authorities will also be given new incentives to be landlords, including funding for council housing.

In a bid to keep affordable accommodation within the council sector, any newly built council homes will not be eligible for right-to-buy schemes.

Ms Sturgeon said: “There has been a fundamental shift in housing aspirations in favour of owner occupation. Part of government’s role is to help people to realise that aspiration.

“But government also has a duty to those who can’t or don’t want to buy a house.”

Tenants that are eligible to buy their own home but are forced to move to a new property will, however, still be able to access the scheme.

The government will also offer financial help for first-time buyers, including grants, shared equity schemes and mortgage products.

It will also roll out a single survey plan, forecast to save first-time buyers £200, despite poor take up in pilot schemes.

Ms Sturgeon was barred from reading her speech in Holyrood after details were leaked to BBC Scotland.

Presiding officer Alex Ferguson said the leak was a “discourtesy to parliament” and insisted the statement was delivered “as read”.

Ms Sturgeon denied ministers were behind the leak and said she was “very angry and concerned” the key facts had been made public.