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‘Couldn’t accommodate the Welsh rugby team’: UK Government hits back at Labour over planning record

22 Jun 2021 3 minutes Read
A housing estate during construction in Cardiff. Picture by Jon Candy (CC BY-SA 2.0).

The UK Government have hit back at Labour after criticism of their planning reforms, saying that the Welsh Government have built so few council houses they “could barely accommodate a Welsh rugby team”.

The Minister of State for Housing, Christopher Pincher, was responding to criticism of the UK Government’s planning policies by Labour MP Steve Reed.

His comments follow the party’s loss in Chesham and Amersham in which local objection to HS2 and the UK Government’s willingness to push changes to the planning system, which could see more homes being built in rural areas, were credited with the defeat.

Labour MP Steve Reed warned that the UK Government “would reap a political whirlwind if they went ahead with their plans to silence communities and hand control over planning to developers”.

The UK Government however responded by criticising Labour’s own record on planning in Wales.

Speaking in the House of Commons, minister Christopher Pincher said that “in Labour-run Wales, so few council homes are being built that they could barely accommodate a Welsh rugby team”.

“In truth—Labour Members do not like this truth; they cannot handle it—Labour does not like people to own their own homes. Labour Members do not want people, especially young people, to get on the property ladder,” he said.

“They do not like aspiration, they do not like capitalism, and they do not want our people to aspire to or to be capitalists.”

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government also criticised Labour’s record in Wales.

“Those of us who see what Labour is doing today see how damaging and feeble their policies are. If we look at Wales, we see that, despite the rhetoric we heard today, the Labour party is developing 12 council houses—for the whole of Wales,” he said.

Independent Carmarthen West MP Jonathan Edwards also weighed in to note that “I cannot profess knowledge of the situation in England, but Wales is very much pro-development biased toward developers. ”

The Welsh Government said in May’s Senedd manifesto that they had invested £2bn in housing over the last five years and delivered a promise to build 20,000 affordable homes across Wales

They promised that in the new Senedd term they would build a further 20,000 new, low carbon social homes for rent.

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Huw Davies
Huw Davies
3 months ago

Having seen the price and ‘quality’ of a good few new build houses in south Wales, it is difficult to disagree with this. Whether English new build houses are any better, I don’t know.
It does seem that the English UK Tory government likes having a Labour Wales as an easy way to deflect criticism. Cameron’s favourite NHS defence was ‘just look over the border at the Labour controlled Welsh NHS…’ so no surprise that the UK government is pleased to continue having the ‘bad example next door’ as an easy answer.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
3 months ago
Reply to  Huw Davies

Easily fooled then Huw? Wanna buy a bridge? Powys alone is building a minimum of 250 affordable homes across the county by 2023. It is well over halfway through and just held a “topping out” for 13 homes in Clyro while 32 are being built in Brecon and more further north. Not all will be council managed as some will be handed to housing associations to manage. Unlike England both Wales and Scotland have their WHQS standards and are light years ahead in upgrading social properties, I live in one. This BS is for consumption in England where they will… Read more »

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
3 months ago

It may well be true that not enough social housing with affordable rents is being built in Wales, but a related problem is that too much private housing is being built in the counties adjoining the border and turning Welsh villages into commuter towns for Bristol and Cheshire.

Morris Dean
Morris Dean
3 months ago

Bit disingenuous to talk about Council housing when most of the affordable housing provision in Wales is now delivered by Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) which are also doing most of the new affordable homes.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
3 months ago
Reply to  Morris Dean

“Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Anglesey, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Wrexham, Powys, Pembrokeshire, Swansea and Vale of Glamorgan councils are among those now building their own homes again.”
That is from May 2019 after Theresa May lifted the Westminster imposed cap on borrowing limits. As a tenant rep it was good to see this as interest rates are rock bottom and the council housing stock and property portfolio is excellent collateral.
Whether these are council or housing association managed makes little difference now that RTB is banned in Wales.

Chris
Chris
3 months ago

Everyone needs to be building new. Most of the green land around my town is currently being built on so the UKBIN government’s childish accusation is utterly disproven. As for quality, modern house builders are much of a muchness, except for some of the modular build off site houses which are superior. Affordable is the key. Progress is being made building new in Wales AT LEAST as fast as in England, but we have the added stress of incomers retiring here or second-home buying or buy-to-letters all putting pressure on the market. But we will entertain no slanders from Westminster… Read more »

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