I’m John Griffiths AM (@JGriffithsLab), the Chair of the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee.
About the Abolition of the Right to Buy Bill
On 13 March, the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant AM, introduced the Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Bill into the Assembly. The Government’s aim for the proposed law is to protect the supply of social housing in Wales by ending all variations of the Right to Buy and the Right to Acquire.
What do the proposed changes mean?
The Right to Buy to buy for tenants of local authorities and registered landlords would be abolished after a period of at least one year after the introduction of the law. By introducing the proposed law, the Welsh Government’s stated aim is to protect the Welsh stock of social housing from reducing further, ensuring it is available to provide safe, secure and affordable housing for people who are unable to access the housing market to buy or rent a home.
Some local authorities, including Flintshire, Carmarthenshire and Anglesey have already suspended the Right to Buy scheme. The proposed law would end the Right to Buy scheme in all local authorities across Wales.
How could the changes affect me?
In making sure that existing tenants are aware of the changes, the proposed law requires the Welsh Government to publish information on its effects before abolition takes place, and social landlords must also in turn provide that information to every affected tenant within two months of the proposed law coming into force. After a waiting period of at least one year after coming into force, all rights will be abolished. This means every affected tenant can still exercise their Right to Buy within that period, but not after.
The Right to Buy across the UK
The Right to Buy and Associated Rights have already been brought to an end by the Scottish Government in Scotland, but a different approach is being taken in England by the UK Government. The UK Government has introduced its own plans to extend the Right to Buy Policy to more homes.
The work of the Committee
The National Assembly for Wales’s Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee is a group of eight Assembly Members from across Wales who reflect the political makeup of the Assembly. Our job is to scrutinise decisions of the Welsh Government on matters within our remit to ensure they are in the best interests of Wales and its communities.
As the subject matter of the proposed law falls within the remit of the Committee, we have been asked to look at its ‘general principles’ or main aims. This is called ‘Stage 1’, and we use this part of the process to hear evidence and prepare a report making recommendations to the Welsh Government for changes to the proposed law if necessary. We have until 7 July to do this.
In May, the Committee intends to hold public engagement sessions across Wales to hear tenants’ views about the proposed law and the implications for them. These views will help inform the Committee’s inquiry alongside the written and oral evidence received.
If you are interested in taking part in these sessions, or would like us to visit, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A DialogueApp page has also been set up so that you can have your say on the Bill and share some of your ideas on how the Bill could be improved.
For all the latest information and developments, you can:
- follow the Committee on twitter @SeneddELGC
- visit the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee’s homepage for information on all of our consultations, and
- visit the Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Bill homepage to keep up-to date with the progress of the Bill.