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Jenny Willott urges Welsh Government to match Westminster's commitment to get empty homes back into use

May 13, 2013 9:34 AM

The Coalition Government has reaffirmed its commitment to get empty homes back into use, detailing the series of measures being introduced to ensure more empty houses become homes again.

These include introducing refurbishment schemes and a new Community Right to Reclaim Land, reforming planning laws, encouraging local authorities to take a lead by providing a financial reward for bringing long-term empty homes back into use, and reviewing what further steps can be taken to end the bias for demolition in the state sector.

The Coalition has committed £235 million to bring empty homes back into use, and is working with an independent adviser to take forward best practice recommendations on empty homes. Already the number of long-term empty homes has fallen by over 40,800 since 2010. However housing is a devolved area for which the Welsh Government is responsible in Wales.

Jenny Willott, MP for Cardiff Central, has called on the Welsh Assembly Government to follow the UK Government's lead and consider adopting some of their initiatives, which will increase housing supply, remove the blight that rundown vacant properties cause and help support local economic growth through refurbishments and improvements.

Commenting, Jenny Willott said:

"I don't want to see Wales miss out on measures which could have such a positive impact on so many local communities. Empty homes can be an eyesore but more importantly it is a waste, both economically and environmentally, not to make use of these spaces.

"We've all seen first-hand the shortage of homes available and the difficulty many people are having getting on the property ladder. The Coalition is taking action to address the problem; the Welsh Government is expanding their Houses into Homes pilot scheme, but they need to be doing much more."