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‘Welsh Government has completely failed to tackle the housing crisis’ – Peter Black

June 14, 2012 2:17 PM

Statistics released today have shown that the number of houses being developed in Wales during 2011-12 decreased for the first time since 2008-09.

The Welsh Government's housing figures have shown that while the number of completions in Wales has marginally increased during the last year (1%), since 2007 the number of completions has fallen steadily from around 9,000 to 5,000.

Peter Black, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Housing, commented:

"While these figures are incredibly disappointing, they are not particularly surprising when considering that over the last decade the Welsh Labour government has completely failed to tackle the housing crisis. The number of completions in the most recent quarter fell to the lowest ever recorded, dating back to 1974 - the Welsh Labour Government should be ashamed of its record.

"The fact is that the housing situation in Wales is desperate. The Welsh government has identified that there needs to be 14,200 new homes built each year, of which 5,100 are affordable. Neither figure is being met.

"The lack of action from the Welsh Government regarding the building of new homes has kept prices at unaffordable levels and, as demand continues to outstrip supply, it has added to the problems faced by first time buyers in getting onto the housing ladder. It is for this exact reason why the Welsh Liberal Democrats ensured, in recent negotiations with the Welsh Government, that a first-time buyers mortgage guarantee scheme would be introduced. This will be of immense help to first time buyers that want to own their own house and can afford the monthly repayment, but cannot gather the deposit necessary - it will also provide a welcome boost to Wales' construction sector. Welsh Liberal Democrats recognise that public finances are tight, but the Welsh Government needed to think outside of the box when starting to tackle the housing problem - we have ensured that the Government does just that."

During budget negotiations between the two parties at the end of 2011, it was agreed that the Welsh Liberal Democrats would form part of the discussion to allocate the additional money given to Wales in the Autumn Statement. Both parties agreed to a policy of providing guarantees for mortgages for first-time buyers of up to 95% for new build homes.

Additional Welsh Liberal Democrat priorities agreed during the budget negotiations announced are:

  • An additional £3 million for NEST and £2 million for ARBED schemes benefitting an extra 1,000 homes
  • An additional £6 millions to expand the Welsh Housing Partnership, levering in a total investment of £30 million to deliver 280 family homes for immediate rent.
  • An additional £5 million to double the size of the recyclable empty homes fund, contributing to the target of bringing 5,000 empty homes back into use during this Assembly term.
  • A Welsh Housing Bond. £4 million will be committed a year for funding for thirty years to support a Bond issue of over £100m, which will finance delivery of more than 1,000 affordable homes over the next four years.