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Welsh Government moves to scrap right-to-buy

Right-to-buy could be abolished across Wales under proposed legislation being introduced today.

The Welsh Government said the move will protect social housing, which has been significantly reduced since right-to-buy was first introduced in 1980.

If passed by the Welsh Assembly, the bill would end the right-to-buy, the preserved right-to-buy and the right-to-acquire for tenants of local authorities and registered social landlords at least one year following Royal Assent.

However, the right-to-Buy and right-to-acquire would be abolished for new housing two months after Royal Assent. Ministers said this would encourage social landlords to build more social housing in the knowledge that the properties will not be at risk of being sold after a relatively short period.

A number of Welsh councils, including Flintshire and the Isle of Anglesey, have already moved to suspend right-to-buy for five years in a bid to protect their social housing stock.

Last month, a proposal to move forward with a suspension in Cardiff was backed by 57.2% of respondents in a public consultation.

Welsh communities secretary Carl Sargeant said: "Our social housing is a valuable resource, but it is under considerable pressure. The size of the stock has declined significantly since 1980 when the right-to-buy was introduced. The number of sales is equivalent to 45% of the social housing stock in 1981. This has resulted in people in housing need, many of whom are vulnerable, waiting longer to access a home they can afford.

"I recognise the proposal affects existing tenants and we will ensure tenants are made aware of the effect of the bill in good time before abolition takes place. The bill will require the Welsh Government to publish information, which social landlords in turn must provide to every affected tenant, within two months of the bill receiving Royal Assent."

Cllr Dyfed Edwards, the Welsh Local Government Association's housing spokesman, said: "At a time of acute shortages of social rented homes, and with many thousands of people currently on housing waiting lists, the proposal from the Welsh Government to abolish right-to-buy is a welcome step in tackling a growing problem in Wales.

"It is essential that people's access is improved to good quality social rented housing in order to enhance people's lives, and also to revitalise local communities."

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