Skip navigation to content

« Back to news items

Right to Buy 'failed to mobilise workforce'

Monday 19 July 2010

Thirty years on from Margaret Thatcher's decision to give council tenants the right to buy the house they had been renting, research conducted by the University of St Andrews suggests the scheme has failed to mobilise the workforce as expected.

Dr Maarten Van Ham of the Centre for Housing Research, an expert in the area of neighbourhoods and housing said:

"The right to buy has given many households access to home ownership, but not to better places, so what have they gained? It concerns me that many are stuck in the same house and the same neighbourhood".

Since its inception in 1980, more than 2.7 million homes have been sold under the scheme, which promised to give those in social housing the right to move to respond to job opportunities in other regions of the country.

In the first analysis of its kind, researchers at the University of St Andrews have studied the moving behaviour of social renters in the UK who exercised their right to buy compared with traditional owners and tenants.

The research shows that Right to Buy failed to free up labour as hoped, with the mobility of Right to Buy owners falling between that of social renters and traditional owners.

The findings also suggest that the Right to Buy has trapped some owners in their neighbourhoods, while neighbourhood problems appear to be the main reasons why Right to Buy owners want to move.

Even though some of the best housing stock in the best neighbourhoods was sold under the Right to Buy scheme, it seems many right to buy owners have been left unable to fulfil their dream of moving to better neighbourhoods.

Notes to News Editors

The research report is available to view at www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/esrcinfocentre/viewawardpage.aspx?awardnumber=RES-000-22-2460.

Dr Maarten Van Ham is available for interview on 07540 668878 or email maarten.vanham@st-andrews.ac.uk


Issued by the University of St Andrews

Contact: Emma Shea, Communications Manager, on 01334 467227 or email proffice@st-andrews.ac.uk