Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Concern at attempt to amend Housing Sales Scheme in Six Counties

19 July, 2004

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson, West Belfast MAL Fra McCann has expressed concern at the impact of proposed changes to the Housing Executive Sales Scheme and the extension of the right to buy to Housing Association tenants on the housing market.

Mr McCann said:

"The proposed changes to the right to buy scheme will hit many of those on the lowest rung of the property ladder hardest. The result will be to deny people the right to housing security and to invest in their own futures.

"The proposed changes will lengthen the qualifying period for eligibility, reduce the discount cap and extend the buyback option to ten years. These measures will mean that Housing Executive and Housing Association tenants will find it harder to buy their own homes. Yet, the move will do nothing to tackle the deficit in affordable social housing.

"Housing Executive tenants should be supported in buying their own homes. But at the same time we need to change the rules to allow the Housing Executive to use the money generated by sales to build new homes in order to meet the social housing need that exists out there.

"It is contradictory to try and limit the right to but while trying to expand the right. The reality is that the right to buy has had a very beneficial impact in terms of helping to create stable communities, in reducing anti-social behaviour as well as playing an important role in the provision of affordable housing in the first time buyer market." ENDS

Note to Editors

The proposed changes may be subject to amendment following consultation but will apply to all application received after May 18th 2004.

Key changes include:

  • Qualifying period for eligibility and discount extended from 2 to 5 years.
  • Discount will now begin at 20% after 5 years, rising by 1% a year up to a maximum of 60%.
  • The discount cap will be reduced from £34,000 to £24,000

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