MP proposes bill to allow councils to end right to buy
Senior Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron has urged the housing minister to give councils the power to suspend the right to buy programme. Tim has today proposed a presentation bill on the issue.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Tim Farron called for a review of the future of social housing and drew upon the example of Scotland. Tim's bill proposes research be done on the right to buy scheme to find out how detrimental it is to the supply of social housing and then, pending that research, the bill would give local authorities the right to opt out of the right to buy scheme.
A decision to opt out would be made by the local authority and require the endorsement of a whole council meeting, which allows for local representatives to have oversight over the decision.
The Scottish Government already allows local authorities to opt out of right to buy in Scotland. Aberdeen was the first council to abandon the policy in 2012, warning of the devastating effect it had on the city's housing stock.
Tim is also pressing for the policy to be included in the Liberal Democrat election manifesto.
Tim said: "I believe that once highly popular, right to buy helps a few at the expense of the housing security of many more. We need to look at this policy, conduct in depth research and if needs be have the bravery to admit that we need to change.
"Westminster needs to wake up and admit that local authorities should have full control over this policy, instead of using it to fill the Treasury coffers.
"They know their communities, their housing market and local needs best. They need the power to act."
Tim's bill is the called the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire Schemes (Research) bill:
Bill to require the Secretary of State to undertake a programme of research into the costs and benefits of extending control of all aspects of Right to Buy and Right to Acquire schemes entirely to Local Authorities, including the operation and consequences of such schemes and the introduction of the right of Local Authorities to suspend them; to report to Parliament within six months of the research being completed; and for connected purposes.