Three day march to call on government to deliver ‘housing justice’ over second and affordable homes
Language campaigners will be marching for three days to call on the Welsh Government to deliver “justice” on the issue of second homes and affordable homes.
Next week, members of the Ceredigion Branch of Cymdeithas yr Iaith will be walking over 30 miles from Llanfihangel y Pennant to Capel Celyn over a three-day period.
Along the journey, campaigners will be calling for a Property Act to be introduced in order to make housing affordable for people on local wages to rent or buy.
The journey will end on Saturday 10 July at the ‘Nid yw Cymru ar Werth’ (‘Wales is not for sale’) rally at the Tryweryn dam, where Dafydd Iwan and Delyth Jewell MS will be among the speakers.
Jeff Smith, who will be walking on the march, explained: “We’re marching in order to highlight the desperate need for the government to act.
“Wales needs a Property Act that ensures the viability of our communities, where people can afford to stay in their local communities. Not only is this essential to the future of the Welsh language, it is also a matter of basic justice.
“The property system in its current form has led to a situation where people can’t afford to live in their own communities; yet, at the same time, landlords live luxurious lives in mansions on the profits made by ordinary people’s rents.
“Some people can afford a second or even third house, while many of the essential workers we’ve relied on during the pandemic, for example, can’t afford one home. This system is not working for the people of Wales. The Government needs to intervene to secure justice for our communities.
“It won’t be possible to rectify this injustice without serious government intervention.”
The march will start at approximately 10:30am on Thursday, 8 July in Llanfihangel y Pennant and will end at around 1pm on Saturday, 10 July in Capel Celyn.
On Saturday 10 July hundreds of supporters of the ‘Wales is not for Sale’ campaign will form a human dam as a symbol of their commitment to preventing the collapse of Wales’ communities.
The rally organised by Cymdeithas yr Iaith will call on the Welsh Government to give powers to local authorities to control the housing market.
“It is unlikely that any event or campaign by Cymdeithas yr Iaith has generated such support in our communities,” Osian Jones from the campaign group said when the details of the march were announced last month.
Those present will sign a statement calling on the Government to take “urgent and radical action” to ensure that local communities are able to control the housing market and the planning process to secure homes for their people, Osian Jones said.
“We expect and trust that, after the years of effort and campaigning, the Welsh Government will now take urgent and radical action to tackle this crisis that prevents people from having homes in their own communities,” he added.
The First Minister Mark Drakeford has said that the Welsh Government is likely to announce some proposals on housing by the end of the month.
Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday Supplement programme last month, the First Minister said that the Cabinet would drawin together ideas and give the Welsh Government practical proposals to consider.
“Some listeners will know that an important report on this whole issue was published in March by Dr. Simon Brooks in Swansea University,” he said.
“So there’s a lot of activity going on in this area. What I said in my first speech in the Senedd was nobody has a monopoly of ideas or wisdom on this topic, and when we come forward with our proposals we’ll want to discuss them with others.
“And see if there are any other ideas that we could add to that repertoire, to strengthen the protections that are available in those local communities where, if we’re not careful, people who were born, brought up, and want to make their futures in those parts of Wales, simply find that that’s not possible for them.”
Cymdeithas yr Iaith will hold its ‘Wales is not for sale’ rally on the Trywern dam at 13:00, Saturday 10th July.