Welsh Conservatives in right to buy housing action call

The Welsh Conservatives launched their right to buy proposals

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The right of people living in council and social housing to buy their own homes should be revamped to provide more housing, according to the Welsh Conservatives.

They say the Right to Buy policy should be rejuvenated as only 420 tenants took up the opportunity last year.

The Conservatives' proposals include a "one-for-one" initiative with a new home built for every home sold.

Welsh Labour questioned where the money to build new homes would come from.

'Bold vision'

The Welsh Conservatives said the number of homes bought under the scheme had fallen from over 11,000 in Wales in 1988 when it was introduced during the Margaret Thatcher government.

In a policy launch later, they will say it is time to breathe new life into the right to buy scheme.

Shadow housing minister Mark Isherwood AM said: "These proposals set out a bold vision to increase the supply of housing to meet future demand by building more homes, replenishing supply through the right to buy and bringing empty homes back into use."

The proposals, A Vision for Welsh Housing, are due to published on the Welsh Conservatives' website.

Despite broadly welcoming the policy announcement, Community Housing Cymru (CHC) - the umbrella organisation for public housing associations - pointed to the impact of Conservative policies at Westminster on the Welsh housing sector.

Nick Bennett, chief executive of CHC, said: "I much welcome a huge amount of the content within the Conservative party document.

"Of course we too want to make sure that there is an increased supply of affordable housing in Wales and would also want to see that there are less empty properties."

But he added: "It's impossible to ignore what's going on across the UK in terms of Conservative policies when it comes to the 'bedroom tax' in particular that is increasing the number of empty properties in Wales and also it's reducing rental income for housing associations..."

Labour has attacked the plans, with Swansea East AM Mike Hedges saying: "Whilst a Welsh Labour government are always open to ideas to improve housing, no matter how unlikely the source, there are simply not enough details in these proposals to take them seriously."

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