North Ayrshire Council is to buy back some of the houses it was previously forced to sell under the controversial ‘Right to Buy’ scheme introduced by the Tory Government of Margaret Thatcher.
The Thatcherite thinking behind ‘Right to Buy’ legislation was that if tenants became home-owners they would be more inclined to vote Conservative, a situation that never happened in Scotland. However, the scheme did result in thousands of tenants purchasing the homes they rented from local authorities, often with massive discounts applied. This, in turn, reduced the number of homes available to rent, which resulted in massively increased housing waiting lists.
Now, with demand for housing in the local area continuing to rise, North Ayrshire Council’s SNP administration is to invest £1million to buy back some of the housing stock sold by the previous Labour-run authority.
Explaining the initiative, Cllr Anthea Dickson, SNP Cabinet spokesperson for Health and Social Care, said, “Several areas in North Ayrshire have a high demand for affordable housing but a shortfall in the number of suitable houses available.
“We are committed to providing affordable homes for our residents and are building 500 new Council houses over the next decade, but while this is a significant investment, we are aware it will not meet the overall demand.”
Cllr Dickson said that by agreeing to purchase former local authority housing, the Council administration was “showing a willingness to explore every possible avenue to tackle this ongoing issue.”
The SNP Cabinet agreed to introduce a policy that will allow the Council to buy back former local authority housing in areas where there is high demand for affordable housing. Purchases are expected to take place in the current financial year (2012/13).