Councils and co-ops could gain new right to buy land for housing



A new law which would give councils and housing associations and co-operatives the right to buy land from developers at existing use price has been welcomed by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA).

Richard Leonard

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard announced his support for the proposal in his speech to Labour’s UK conference in Brighton this week.

Mr Leonard said that his party’s forthcoming Housing Commission report will include a recommendation to “reform the existing law to allow public interest-led bodies and local authorities to acquire land at, or very close to, existing use value”.

Speaking at the annual conference, he said: “There is a housing emergency in Scotland, and the price of land lies at the centre of it. So when we launch our Housing Commission report in the next few weeks it will make radical recommendations which tackle the excess profits of property developers.”

Sally Thomas, SFHA chief executive, said: “We are delighted with the Scottish Labour Housing Commission announcement that it will take serious steps to address the housing crisis in Scotland.

“In particular, the right to acquire land at existing use value is something we have lobbied for, for a number of years, on behalf of our members. We know the price of land is a barrier to building the affordable housing which is desperately needed.

“We need a system that will allow distribution of revenues on the basis of need, rather than market circumstance, and which reinforces the ambition for, and achievement of, socially inclusive place-making. Of the many factors that contribute to this, land is one of the most critical.

“The right to acquire land at existing use value is about introducing fairness and equality into a system, and set of relationships, currently characterised by distortion, unfairness and inequality. It is about rebalancing and redistributing for greater social good, from which we will all benefit. 

“More detailed plans for housing after 2021 are necessary for our members who are keen to keep building homes, and we look forward to discussing this with the Scottish Government as a matter of urgency.”



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