Is this the beginning of the end for Right to Buy in the UK?

The Welsh Government has introduced legislation to end the Right to Buy scheme in the country, triggering suggestions that England could follow suit as social rental housing continues its decline.

Scotland has already scrapped Right to Buy, but in England, Right to Buy is still due to be extended to tenants of housing associations.

Right to Buy ended in Scotland on 31 July 2016 following a consultation in 2012.

The Welsh Bill will mean that Right to Buy, and associated rights, for tenants of local authorities and registered social landlords will be abolished after a period of at least one year following Royal Assent of the legislation.

The delay between assent and implementation has led to suggestions that there could be a stampede among social tenants to take advantage of the existing Right to Buy.

Welsh Communities Secretary Carl Sargeant said the aim of the change is to protect and encourage social housing.

He 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.

“The Bill supports the Welsh Government’s wider aims of a more prosperous and fairer Wales, helping to tackle poverty by protecting our stock of social housing from further reduction.

“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.”

He said the Welsh Government has a target of creating 20,000 affordable homes.

Alongside social housing, this will include schemes such as Help to Buy and Rent to Own, he said.

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