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Welsh Government comes under fire as UK Labour U-turns on opposition to right-to-buy

04 Dec 2022 2 minute read
Keir Starmer photo Chris McAndrew marked with CC BY 3.0 and Janet Finch-Saunders.Picture by the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0)

The Welsh Government has been attacked for its opposition to right-to-buy which allows most social housing tenants the right to buy their rented homes at a discount.

The ending of the scheme  in Wales in 2018, which was also supported by Plaid Cymru, puts it at odds with the UK Labour Party which has U-turned on opposition to the policy under Keir Starmer’s leadership.

In an interview with iNews last week, the Shadow Housing Secretary Lisa Nandy said Labour now supports a council house tenant’s right to buy their home.

She said: “Under former leader Jeremy Corbyn, Labour had pledged to end the right to buy scheme. But, under Sir Keir Starmer’s stewardship, that’s no longer the case.

“Labour supports the principle of council and social tenants being able to buy the homes they’ve lived in for years and considers it a sustainable policy if the homes are replaced like-for-like.”

Pressure

Commenting on the UK party’s about-turn, Janet Finch-Saunders MS, the Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister responsible for housing, accused the Welsh government of despising aspiration and called on UK Labour to put pressure on the First Minister to scrap the ban in Wales.

“It is good to see the UK Labour Party repent for trying to stop social housing tenants trying to buy their own home, but maybe they should have a word with the socialist-in-chief in Cardiff Bay,” she said.

“The Labour Government banned the right-to-buy in Wales – with help from their nationalist sidekicks – because they despise aspiration and blamed the ambition of those who wanted to buy their own property for their own housing policy failures.

“Just like they are doing with second homes and holiday properties, Labour and Plaid got rid of right-to-buy because it is easier for them to demonise those who have worked hard to get their property than hit their housebuilding targets.

“If Keir Starmer wants to show people how he would help the whole of the UK, he could start by standing up to the First Minister and telling him to scrap this ridiculous law that bans aspiration.”


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George Thomas
George Thomas
2 months ago

“Labour supports the principle of council and social tenants being able to buy the homes they’ve lived in for years and considers it a sustainable policy if the homes are replaced like-for-like.”

What a strange comment! The issues with right-to-buy has, over several decades, been that homes weren’t replaced with like-for-like. There are thousands of council and social housing homes needing replacing before it even starts to becomes a like-for-like relationship.

Last edited 2 months ago by George Thomas
hdavies15
hdavies15
2 months ago
Reply to  George Thomas

“….homes weren’t replaced with like-for-like….” and they knew it all along. Successive governments across the UK seem to have a silo mentality. The UK has a history over 50 years or more of net in-migration, of growth in family units and thus a need for more homes. Housing stock becomes outdated even dilapidated and needs replenishing. A bigger problem now than it was 30-40 years ago but will be an even bigger problem in 10-20 years if governments don’t get off their backsides stop spouting platitudes and get on with the task in hand.

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
2 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

The Tories made it so that the social housing stock could not be replaced. Their rules not only prevented councils from using money to replace that stock but also ensured that all of the money made from the selling off of council houses (a lot of which ended up in the hands of private landlords) went to Westminster and not to the councils or the devolved governments.

hdavies15
hdavies15
2 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

We had a Labour government from 1997-2010 who could have modified the original Tory plan had they been so inclined. There again Blair and Brown were the prototype Red Tories so no real surprise that they left the mess as they found it.

George Thomas
George Thomas
2 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Was Brown a Red Tory? That seems very unfair, and unfair to expect government to fix everything given that there is limited time to work with. However, it’s a bizarre statement to make now by Nandy (usually quite good when speaking) because the word “if” means so much and nothing said on what happens when “if” doesn’t work.

Cynan again
Cynan again
2 months ago

And English Labour lurches further to the right again. Leaving a vacuum on the left. Will English Labour in Cymru follow suit?
Will Plaid hold the left or will it follow English Labour in Cymru?

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
2 months ago
Reply to  Cynan again

We need our own political parties based on Welsh needs. # When will our country realise that Welsh Labour need to become an independent democratic socialist/ Social democrat party for Wales ? When will the Welsh Liberal democrats realise that they should be in Plaid Cymru as all their ideas are also ours and together we will provide a workable alternative opposition to new Labour. The Welsh Conservatives must give on the centralised UK command government. They have never worked for any Europeans including Yugoslavia and USSR. The market capitalist supporters could join Gwlad for an independent Wales where they… Read more »

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
2 months ago

Tory Lite, not Labour.

Under first Blair and now Starmer, the party has moved far to the right of the socialist party which my family had supported for generations.

Cat
Cat
2 months ago

Labour in Wales is in power and has its own policies. Labour in England is a party in another country and in opposition. And Janet Finch Saunders is the best that Welsh Conservatives can put forward. Time to rid Cymru of the Tories

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
2 months ago
Reply to  Cat

We don’t need UK Labour here either. A Tory-lite version of Labour. Their priority is getting into power into Westminster, not Wales.

What will it take for “Welsh” Labour to cut off those apron strings?

Arwyn
Arwyn
2 months ago

Brown’s constitutional review is out tomorrow. It won’t go as far as the “Radical Federalism” Welsh Labour have been calling for. Another point of difference and tension. Welsh Labour are closer to Plaid Cymru than Starmer’s Labour. Moreover, their performance in Chester suggests we can look forward to a hung parliament at the next election. We’re in for “interesting times” as they say.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
2 months ago
Reply to  Arwyn

Yes, no evidence at all that we are heading for a resounding UK Labour victory, especially with 8 less seats proposed in Wales and the spectre of a second independence referendum in Scotland (unionists will probably vote for the Tories). Conservative voters in Chester did not switch, they just stayed at home. As for cconstitutional reform, I strongly suspect it won’t happen. It’s just an exercise to temporarily secure the votes of growing numbers of indy supporters in Scotland and Wales. Their own membership opposes any such reforms and Labour will not risk antagonising them or the Red Wall. They… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by SundanceKid
Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
2 months ago
Reply to  Arwyn

Lets hope that the Liberal Democrats and Plaid can force through federalism in the next UK government in event of a hung parliament.

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