Publication - Research and analysis

Analysis of Responses to the Future of Right to Buy in Scotland Consultation

Published: 16 Nov 2012
Part of:
Research
ISBN:
9781782562191

The research report presents the findings from an analysis of responses to the future of Right to Buy in Scotland consultation. The findings show who has responded to the consutlation and the key themes emerging from the responses.

52 page PDF

503.5 kB

52 page PDF

503.5 kB

Contents
Analysis of Responses to the Future of Right to Buy in Scotland Consultation
5: ASSESSMENT OF EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES

52 page PDF

503.5 kB

5: ASSESSMENT OF EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES

Background

5.1 The public sector duty in terms of equal opportunities says that the public sector must consider equality in everything it does. The Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) allows consideration of how policies may affect, either positively or negatively, different sectors of the population in different ways.

Q13: What groups do you think would be affected - positively or negatively - by the proposed reforms?

Q14: What could we do to avoid any negative effect?

Perceived positive or negative effects

5.2 The majority of respondents (127 or 75%) provided a view on what they saw as the broad positive and/or negative impacts of the proposals on different groups. Table 11 provides a picture of how different sectors responded.

Table 11: Broad views on the positive or negative impact of the proposals by respondent sector

Respondent sector No. of respondents identifying positives No. of respondents identifying negatives
Registered Social Landlords 35 31
Local Authorities 17 18
Tenant/Resident Groups 20 12
Representative bodies 5 9
Voluntary groups/Charities 4 1
Other 5 4
Individuals 7 15
Total 93 90

5.3 Many respondents, particularly RSLs and local authorities identified both winners and losers depending on which policy changes are made. Tenant/ resident groups highlighted more positives than negatives. Individual respondents identified more negatives, perhaps reflecting concerns over their individual circumstances or those of others they knew which had galvanised them into responding to the consultation.

5.4 A summary of the views by groups affected and ways to address negative impacts is in Table 12 overleaf.

Table 12: Summary of views on which groups might be affected positively or negatively by the proposed reforms and what could be done to avoid any negative effect

Groups likely to experience positive effect

Comments

Ways to avoid any negative effect

Prospective tenants due to the collective benefit of safeguarding social housing. Seen as benefitting in particular those on waiting lists; homeless; vulnerable groups; low income households; young people; armed forces

78 mentions from all sectors of respondent. For example:

'The proposals give collective benefits by means of continued provision of social housing whereas RTB gives subsidised individual benefit' (East Kilbride and District Housing Association).

'Households in housing need will be positively affected. They are some of the most disadvantaged in society and include single parent households and low income families who, in areas of limited supply, may spend long periods in temporary homeless accommodation' (Highland Council).

Current and new tenants who will be treated equally

13 mentions from across most sectors.

The proposals were viewed as creating a 'level playing field' which placed all tenants on the same rights (including those renting privately).

Social landlords

9 mentions including respondents from RSLs, local authorities, tenant groups and one individual.

Social landlords were seen to benefit from more sustainable rental income which will assist in longer term planning.

Tenants requiring maintenance to their properties

8 respondents (5 of whom were tenant groups) predicted benefits in that repairs and maintenance will be made easier in the future. In particular long term tenants who may not have the financial ability to carry our repairs will have their homes maintained into old age.

Tenants with special needs/tenants who have disabilities

6 mentions from 6 different respondent sectors. The proposals were seen as safeguarding housing adapted for people with particular needs.

Groups likely to experience negative effect

Comments

Ways to avoid any negative effect

Existing tenants who aspire to home ownership but do not have the financial ability at present but may lose their current entitlements to buy. Older people; younger people; those with preserved rights identified as key groups.

82 mentions from across all respondent sectors. For example:

'The right to buy was a route into home ownership available to start young people off' (Lanarkshire Housing Association).

Some viewed any negative effects to be short term:

'A minority of social tenants who have built up their RTB eligibility might be adversely affected in the short term but as the current situation is anomalous and inherently inequitable, this should not be a substantive consideration' (Argyll and Bute Council).

1. 33 respondents recommended that other options for low cost home ownership are made available and promoted.

2. 21 respondents recommended that an appropriate 'lead in time' is set before any changes are made and this is highly publicised. One commented, 'this should not be left to rumours in the press leading to a rush to buy' (Fife Federation of Tenants & Residents Associations).

3. 16 respondents recommended that a communication strategy be implemented, which involves tenants and accommodates the requirements of those with additional communication needs.

4. 14 respondents recommended high profile, positive publicity to convey the benefits of the changes. One commented:

'Clearly define the reasons taken by supporting them with valid examples as to why this decision was taken' (Dumfries & Galloway Housing Partnership Boards Members, District Management and Tenants).

5. 5 respondents recommended that good quality advice be provided to existing tenants on their options in the notice period.

6. 3 respondents recommended that a voluntary sales policy is maintained.

People with disabilities and other special needs

7 mentions involving RSLs, local authorities, a representative body and an individual.

It was commented that such tenants had fewer opportunities to purchase a home outwith the social rented sectors. Repealing S69 was also seen as impacting particularly on this group.

1. 16 respondents recommended that a communication strategy be implemented, which involves tenants and accommodates the requirements of those with additional communication needs.

2. 5 respondents recommended that good quality advice be provided to existing tenants on their options in the notice period.

3. 3 respondents recommended that a voluntary sales policy is maintained.

People with jobs relating to right to buy protocol

One local authority and one RSL considered that chartered surveyors in particular may have less work due to changes to right to buy.

1. One local authority recommended that the jobs of the staff affected should be re-designed.

Tenants living in rural areas

One respondent highlighted this group:

'Rural tenants will be affected negatively if no appropriate support is put in place to enable low cost home ownership in rural Scotland' (Rural Housing Service).

1. 33 respondents recommended that other options for low cost home ownership are made available and promoted.

2. 5 respondents recommended that good quality advice be provided to existing tenants on their options in the notice period.

Q15: Do you have any comments on the partial Equalities Impact Assessment?

5.5 Forty five (27%) respondents provided comments on the partial EQIA. Twenty one of these remarked that the EQIA appeared to be comprehensive and fair. Two respondents welcomed what they perceived to be useful tenant profiles. Three respondents agreed that further monitoring of the impact of the changes and more consultation with older people and those with disabilities will be useful. One view (Vol) was that not all of the assessment was entirely relevant to the policy issues. Another respondent (Ten Gp) stated their view that more information was required.

5.6 Several respondents called for more emphasis to be given in the EQIA to particular topics and groups:

  • Positive outcomes of the changes on disadvantaged groups and minority groups (such as LGBT, people with disabilities) (seven mentions across a range of sectors)
  • Negative impact on younger people who may have wished to exercise their rights but are not currently financially able to do so (three mentions across different sectors).
  • Potentially negative impact of S69 change on older people and people with disabilities (Ten Gp).
  • The possibility of pressure put on older people by families who purchase their home which may become unsuitable for their housing needs (LA).

5.7 Finally, one respondent (Oth) highlighted a possible human rights-based objection to the changes to right to buy on the grounds of Article 8 which relates to protecting the private life of an individual against arbitrary interference from public authorities and private organisations. This respondent considered that it could be argued that by removing the right to buy the Scottish Government is failing in its duty to respect tenants' homes, particularly as the right to buy has existed for over 30 years and been made available to thousands of previous tenants.


Contact

Email: Paul Sloan