ELC to attempt reintroduction of Right to Buy

The new Labour-Tory administration in East Lothian is to try and reintroduce Margaret Thatcher’s Right-to-Buy policy, despite it having been abolished under the Housing (Scotland) Act.

The new administration yesterday voted on its priorities for the next five years, which included a commitment to “reintroduce a ‘modernized right to buy’, giving people a greater stake in their community through home ownership.”

However, modernized Right-to-Buy for new-build social housing was abolished in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010, after the policy had caused council housebuilding in Scotland to completely dry up.

In East Lothian, Right-to-Buy had been so damaging that the previous SNP administration were in the process of buying back 200 houses in order to compensate for its legacy of affordable housing shortages.

SNP MSP Paul Wheelhouse has laid down a motion condemning the administration for pursuing a policy which flies in the face of the Housing (Scotland) Act and will be a disaster for housing in the county, and called on Labour to distance themselves nationally from this discredited Tory policy.

Commenting, the South Scotland MSP said:

“This is an inexplicably bad decision from the new Labour-Tory administration.

“Not only does it fly in the face of the Housing (Scotland) Act - it will undo all of the good work that has been done to tackling the affordable housing shortage.

“Right-to-Buy left a dreadful legacy of affordable housing shortages all over the country – it was only when the Scottish Government indicated it was planning to abolish it that councils started building houses again.

“Along with the generous financial support given to us by the Scottish Government, it helped East Lothian build the first council houses in decades, and the SNP were planning to build 500 more over the next term.

“But now Labour and the Tories want to turn the clock back and put all of this under threat – with a Thatcherite policy which has already been abolished by the Scottish Parliament.

“For the new Labour administration to try and get round national legislation so soon sets a terrible precedent for how they intend to run the council.

“Johann Lamont and her parliamentary colleagues must intervene and put a stop to this madness – in East Lothian and anywhere else in Scotland.”