Tories say new scheme to protect Welsh speaking communities ‘appears to be promoting discrimination’
The Welsh Conservatives say proposals to allow properties to be marketed locally only for a fixed period – in areas with a large number of second homes and in Welsh speaking communities – “appears to be promoting discrimination.”
The proposed “Fair Chance” scheme was launched at the National Eisteddfod in Tregaron last week as part of a range of measures designed to tackle the lack of affordable housing in Wales.
It will allow sellers to offer their properties to local people in the area for a certain amount of time before they go on the open market.
Commenting on the plans, Welsh Conservative Shadow Housing Minister, Janet Finch-Saunders, said: “This scheme appears to be promoting discrimination against house buyers who do not speak Welsh.
“This is, of course, completely unacceptable. Immediate clarification on this policy is needed from the Labour Government.
“As a nation of sanctuary, there should be no prejudice against people looking to buy a house in Wales.
“We should not forget that these paltry policy tweaks and voluntary schemes will not address the underlying problem that is the Labour-caused housing crisis.
“There is no escaping the fact that Labour are only delivering half of the homes Wales needs in order to meet demand. This is Labour’s housing crisis and they are failing to deliver for local communities across Wales.”
Minister for Education and Welsh Language Jeremy Miles launched the scheme on Wednesday and outlined details of the government’s Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan, which will be published in the autumn.
He also announced the formation of a Commission for Welsh-speaking Communities which will help the government develop plans which protect those communities.
Mr Miles said: “For the Welsh language to thrive, we need sustainable communities and good job opportunities in the areas where it is widely spoken.
“This isn’t about imposing solutions, so everything we do will be in line with local communities’ aspirations.
“The Commission will help us develop future policies to sustain the language in those communities traditionally considered its heartlands.
“This isn’t about setting up a new body, it’s a group of experts in a range of fields who will give us a completely candid view about how the economy, policy decisions and demographics are affecting the Welsh language.
“I’ve said many times that the Cymraeg belongs to us all, as does the responsibility for its future. We’ll have to be brave and tackle things together that might be difficult.
“I’m sure that some of the things the Commission will tell us will be challenging, but that’s important – that’s what will help us find the most effective answers!”
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