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Right-to-buy ends in Scotland, home ownership lowest for 30 years and Corbyn's "secure homes guarantee" pledge

Week in Westminster

Published: 5 August 2016 | Author: Michelle Vosper

The week began with the demise of the right-to-buy scheme in Scotland. In 2014 MSPs voted to end the scheme in an attempt to protect housing in the social rented sector and the scheme officially ended on 1 August 2016. Similarly, the Welsh government will be introducing a bill to abolish right to buy within the next year.

This is of course juxtaposed to the UK government’s plans to extend the right-to-buy scheme in England to housing association tenants.

Meanwhile, according to the Resolution Foundation home ownership has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years. Their analysis, based on data from the Labour Force Survey, suggests that despite an uptick in 2014, home ownership has continued its downward path into 2016 and now stands at 63.8% - equivalent to the levels last seen in 1986.  

At their AGM this week, the Tory Reform Group launched a year-long project focusing on housing policy. As part of that, the Group has issued a public call for evidence seeking innovative policy proposals to address the challenges of availability and affordability of homes to rent and buy.

In his bid to remain Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn has set out ten pledges to “rebuild and transform Britain”. One of these pledges is a secure homes “guarantee”, under which Mr Corbyn pledges to build 1 million new homes in five years, with at least half a million council houses. And for private renters Mr Corbyn would legislate to introduce rent controls implemented by local authorities, and bring back security of tenure.   

And prime minister Theresa May has chaired the first meeting of her new economy and industrial strategy cabinet committee which is tasked with delivering one of the government’s top three priorities – “an economy that works for everyone, with a strong industrial strategy at its heart”. The new committee brings together secretaries of state from over ten government departments. In particular, the committee will focus on addressing long-term productivity growth, encouraging innovation and focussing on the industries and technologies that will give the UK a competitive advantage.