Monday, 8 June 2009

Concern over council house sales

Plaid's councillors in Carmarthenshire have expressed concern over the delays in granting new powers over housing to the National Assembly. The Assembly had asked for the power to stop the sales of council houses in areas of housing pressure, but Labour and Conservative MPs in London have been working together to obstruct the Assembly's wishes for many months, and there is still no resolution to the issue. In the meantime, things have been moving on locally.

Cllr Linda Davies Evans said this week, "Carmarthenshire is one of the few councils in Wales which has decided to retain council housing within the council's control rather than transferring all the houses to an outside agency, and this is something that I very much support. Not only that, but the council is investing heavily in improving its stock of council houses.

"There is a danger, though, that this could lead to a further reduction in the numbers of council houses, since the newly-improved homes will be more attractive to buy. I'm not suggesting for a moment that we should not be improving the houses - of course we should. It's essential that the council, as a good landlord, provides its tenants with high quality housing. But we need to be able to ensure that the investment which is being made serves not only the current tenants, but also future generations of tenants, and that houses are avilable to our young people."

Plaid's Housing spokesperson on the council, Cllr Joy Williams, added, "The One Wales government has recognised the problems that could arise, and has been seeking power to allow councils to retain even newly-improved houses as part of the stock. It is completely unacceptable that Labour and Conservative MPs should be obstructive in the way that they have; and their actions could well be endangering the ability of the council to continue to provide homes in the future."

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