Douglas Ross set to announce Rent to Own policy at Tory party conference

Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, speaking during the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham
Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, speaking during the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham

DOUGLAS Ross is set to launch a Rent to Own policy during his Tory party conference speech amid housing market turmoil and concern over soaring mortgage rates.

The Scottish Tory leader, who is reportedly facing two “significant” leadership challenges after his disastrous response to the fallout from the UK Government’s mini-Budget, will also reportedly focus on how large parts of rural Scotland have been “forgotten by the SNP” during his conference address.

Ross also has plans to establish a National College of Scotland which would specialise in remote teaching to help those working full-time develop their skills, much like the Open University.

The Rent to Own policy, which is already in place in Wales, would require tenants to pay market rent for a new-build property to a landlord for five years before they could apply to buy it.

To help tenants with a deposit, the government could then provide 25% of the rent paid in the five year period.

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However, following Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget and the collapse of the pound to a record low against the US dollar, there were 40% fewer mortgages available than before the plan was set out.

Millions are facing rocketing mortgage bills as the base rate is tipped to reach 6%.

Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman said: “In the last few days alone the Tory Party have hammered every single homeowner and done an immense amount of damage to a housing market that was already out of control.

“People are struggling to buy their first home, but the skyrocketing interest rates we are seeing will only make that worse and so will the wrecking ball that the Tories are taking to the economy.

“Douglas Ross’s commitment to tenants’ rights will be put to the test this week when our Parliament votes on the Scottish Government’s emergency legislation on rents and evictions.”