Today, we were pleased to see the commitment to deliver 20,000 homes in the Programme for Government – Taking Wales forward (2016-2021). This consists of the construction of 6,000 homes through the Help to Buy Scheme.
Steve Clarke, said “While we welcome the confirmation of 20,000 homes, with at least 14,000 being affordable, we do need to reconsider what is affordable for those on low incomes and in receipt of housing benefit/credit. To be truly affordable we will need a bigger social housing grant pot with specific rental target in mind with the majority falling within the scope of the social rent policy, although realistically, the majority of affordable homes will most likely be at 80% of market rent”.
“We understand that Right to Buy and Right to Acquire will be abolished, despite Anglesey, Flintshire, Swansea, Carmarthen all having utilised the 5 year suspension, although perhaps interestingly the paragraph refers to “safeguarding social housing in rural areas by ending right to buy”, are we to assume that urban areas will follow?
While RTB/RTA was of symbolic and now financially important given the direction of travel in England, it is understandable there is little incentive for social landlords to invest to build only for us to exercise the right to buy after five years has gone – at a discount. Much better to see the genuinely affordable homes pool grow to meet current and future needs.
The full document ‘Welsh Government Taking Wales Forward’ can be viewed here: http://gov.wales/docs/strategies/160920-taking-wales-forward-en.pdf