Investment welcomed but action plan needed

November 23, 2011 5:23 PM
Originally published by Peter Black and South Wales West Liberal Democrats

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have welcomed investment by the Welsh Government to bring empty homes back into use however Peter Black, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Housing, has called on the Welsh Government to implement an action plan to help reduce the pressure on social housing in Wales in the long term.

Peter Black AM said:

"I am delighted to see the Government announce a £15m fund to help bring empty homes back into use. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for action on empty homes for years which led to today's debate in the Assembly.

"Alongside this money we are calling on the Labour Government to make a true assessment of the state of empty homes in Wales and to work with local councils, housing associations and owners to both identify suitable properties for improvement and also to identify how to make the most out of the money available. An empty homes strategy to make sure that the most impact is made will be crucial to the success of this money.

"Local councils still need the ability to vary council tax for empty properties and reducing the VAT on building materials could make an additional significant difference to bringing homes back into use. In my own region of South Wales West there are 4879 properties empty. With recoverable loans available it will give owners of empty homes a new incentive to bring properties back into use, and Welsh Liberal Democrats will continue to monitor the progress made on empty homes in the next few years."

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