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Scrapping of ‘Right to Buy’ scheme in Wales given Royal Assent

Landmark legislation abolishing the Right to Buy housing policy will come into force in Wrexham and across Wales.

The Bill, which was granted Royal Assent at the end of January, aims to protect housing stock and incentivise the building of new social housing.

Introduced in the 1980s, the Right to Buy scheme allows tenants of council houses and some housing associations the legal right to buy their property at a discount.

Between 1981 and 2016, over 139,000 local authority and housing association homes were sold off under the Right to Buy across Wales. Locally, over 6,000 council homes have been sold since the creation of Wrexham County Borough in 1996, with many ending up in the private rented sector.

However plans to axe the scheme across Wales were unveiled in 2016 as part of the Welsh Government’s first year legislative priorities.

At the end of last month an official Sealing Ceremony saw the Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Bill became an Act of the Assembly.

Wrexham’s Assembly Member Lesley Griffiths, who is a long-time supporter of the legislation, said: “Constituents regularly contact my office with housing issues but this Welsh Government Bill will help provide safe, secure and affordable housing for people who are unable to buy or rent a home of their own.

“It will give local authorities and housing associations the confidence to invest in new developments, safe in the knowledge these homes will not be at risk of being sold after only a few years.

“I am pleased Welsh Labour is continuing to deliver on its manifesto commitments.

“As well as ending Right to Buy, the Welsh Labour Government is committed to investing in housing, pledging to create 20,000 more affordable homes by 2021.”

This Bill was introduced last March, following a White Paper consultation in 2015, and now passed, abolishes all variations of the Right to Buy, including the Preserved Right to Buy and the Right to Acquire.

Right to Buy will finally be abolished on the 26 January 2019 for existing properties, one year after Royal Assent. But to encourage investment in new homes, the rights will end for homes that are new to the social housing stock, and therefore have no existing tenants, two months after Royal Assent, on the 24th of March 2018.

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