The Welsh Labour Government’s decision to strip council tenants of the “right to buy” their council homes will damage social mobility in the Vale of Glamorgan, says Penarth Assembly Member Andrew R T Davies (Conservative South Wales Central).
In 1980, council tenants throughout the UK were given the “right to buy” their council homes – at a substantial discount to market prices – under Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government. Although the “right to buy” was opposed tooth-and-nail by die-hard socialists, it proved immensely popular with the general public.
Andrew R T Davies says that many families in the Vale of Glamorgan had only ever managed to get on the “housing ladder” – and become property owners – because of the enlightened scheme.
Now that “ladder” is being removed by the Welsh Labour Government – which this week is starting work on dismantling the scheme.
It means that thousands of tenants living in council houses and flats – and in living in social housing – will no longer have a right to buy the homes they live actually in – and will be left with no option but to carry-on paying rent in perpetuity.
Davies, who is the leader of the Welsh Conservative Party – says “There are few prouder moments than owning your own home, and here in the Vale many families were able to do so because of right to buy. Without it, home ownership was nothing more than a pipe dream. The Welsh Government’s decision shows that Labour are the enemies of aspiration. They are putting ideology before helping people get on in life.”
The Welsh Conservative Party is opposing Labour’s draconian measure but Labour’s minority government in Cardiff Bay is kept in office by a pact with Plaid Cymru and a deal with the Liberal Democrats which will force the anti-home-ownership measure through and will abolish a right which council tenants and social housing tenants have enjoyed for 37 years.
Tenants now have just one more year to apply to buy their homes under the old rules before Labour removes the right to buy and forces them to remain tenants .
Since the scheme was introduced in 1980, 139,000 council and housing association homes have been bought outright by the tenants living in them . Labour claims this has resulted in a 45% reduction in public housing stock – but critics say that allegation doesn’t hold water because the same people still occupy the property; all that’s changed is the ownership of the bricks and mortar.
Plaid Cymru – who prop up the minority Labour Government in Wales – say “We welcome the proposed move to scrap it altogether and regret that the Labour Welsh Government has taken so long to abolish this most Thatcherite of policies.”