‘Welsh Government must respond to Property Act proposals’ – Cymdeithas
Announcing its proposals for a Property Act in Cardiff today, 26 October, Welsh language campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith has said that the Government must now respond.
“Although we have been campaigning for a Property Act since the 80s, housing problems are worse than ever and the nature of our communities has changed because of that,” said Elin Hywel, chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith’r Sustainable Communities group.
“The Government has also committed in the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru to prepare a white paper for a Property Act, and is currently preparing a green paper, so it felt timely for us to update our proposals for a Property Act and put the emphasis on empowering communities.
“An over-reliance on the free market means that houses are treated as assets rather than homes so any Property Act needs to be clear that the main purpose of a house is to be a home, and it should enable homes to be used for the benefit of communities and in accordance with the needs of the community.”
Jeff Smith, vice chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith’r Sustainable Communities group added: “Recently the Government has announced new powers for local councils, which appears to be a good thing, but it creates significant work for councils, and there is no mention of funding for that work.
“And several measures in the Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan that was announced in recent weeks are voluntary and are very small steps.
“Rather than doing a few things here and there that ultimately create more work, a complete Property Act would reduce work and be a more effective solution.”
Among Cymdeithas’ proposals are to:
- Empower communities and community-led affordable housing initiatives to buy and lease land and property for community purposes
- Facilitate low interest loans for local people and community led enterprises through a community bank
- Control rent in the private and public sector to ensure they are affordable for tenants on lower than median incomes
- Set expectations on Local Authorities to co-produce regular Community Assessments with community councils and draw up a Local Housing Strategy based on the Community Assessment in order to meet actual housing requirements
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