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Move to 'protect Wales’ social housing'

Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The Welsh Government says it is taking action on the Right to Buy in order to protect Wales’ social housing, after a consultation which, it says, showed support for the plans.

Earlier this year, the Minister with responsibility for housing, Lesley Griffiths, published a White Paper setting out her intention to end the Right to Buy and halve the maximum discount available to people who want to buy their council house to £8,000.

After considering the responses to a consultation, the discount will be reduced this Summer and a new law to end Right to Buy will be considered in the next Assembly term.

I am pleased key voices in the housing sector, including tenants, participated in the consultation and had their say on this important issue. The consultation on our proposals has brought to the fore some interesting views on Wales’ housing needs and demonstrated people’s support for protecting our social housing stock.

– Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty

Average weekly pocket money in Wales is £6.17

1200 children took part in the survey. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

The average weekly pocket money that 8 to 15 year-olds get in Wales has risen by 11 percent since last year to £6.17.

That's according to a survey by the Halifax.

It means they get the third best payout in the UK after London and Scotland. They are also bucking the average which has seen UK pocket money falling since last year.

  • London, £7.65, minus 7.5%
  • Scotland, £7.27, 7.5%
  • Wales, £6.17, 11%
  • South East, £6.16, minus 4.5%
  • North West, £6.01, minus 6.5%
  • North East, £6.00, minus 3.5%
  • Yorkshire and Humberside, £5.84, minus 10%
  • East Midlands, £5.64, 2.5%
  • East Anglia, £5.63, 9%
  • South West, £5.60, 4.8%
  • West Midlands, £5.45, minus 9%

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£6m to help older people live independently

Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The Welsh Government has announced a £6 million investment to help older people in Wales live independently in their own home.

It says the funding supports the work of the Care and Repair service. It provides adaptations like ramps, handrails, and safety alarms, to enable older people to live safely in their own homes.

£2 million of the funding is for the Rapid Response Adaptations Programme, which provides minor adaptations to help prevent many people from having to be admitted to hospital.

The Welsh Government says estimates show every pound invested in the programme creates a £7.50 saving for health and social services.

Care and Repair and the Rapid Response Adaptations Programme help transform the lives of more than 40,000 older people across Wales every year.

By providing relatively small home adaptations, these services enable people to continue to live safely in the homes they love with the dignity they deserve.

As people across Wales live longer, healthier lives, such preventative measures play an increasingly important role in supporting our health and social services.

– Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty

Potential scam victims 'being threatened'

Credit: Chris Young/PA Archive/PA Images

Dyfed Powys Police say potential victims of letter, phone and internet scams have, in some instances, been threatened.

Officers say there has been an increase in the number of reports of scams with some claiming to be from well-known companies including Microsoft, Talk Talk and the Postcode Lottery, seeking access to personal information and money.

In some cases they have become threatening to the receiver of the call when they do not comply with their demands.

We are urging residents throughout Dyfed Powys to stay alert to cold callers.

The majority of these scams work to deceive people into allowing remote access to their computer or giving personal details over the phone or online. Allowing anyone access to your computer puts you at risk of data loss or losing access to your computer or files.

With traditional cold callers at people’s properties, we’ve always advised ‘if in doubt, keep them out’ and exactly the same principle applies here.

– Detective Sergeant Rob Gravelle

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Help to Buy gives 1,400 a boost to get on property ladder

The Help to Buy scheme enables buyers to purchase homes with the help of equity loans from the Welsh Government. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Almost 1,400 homes have been bought through the Welsh Help to Buy scheme since it was launched last year, according to figures released this morning.

The £170 million scheme allows first-time buyers and home-movers to buy new-build homes with assistance from the Welsh Government in the form of a shared equity loan.

Between January 2014 and March 2015, the Welsh Government provided £48.7million in equity loans, helping buyers purchase 1,378 homes worth a total of £245.7million. The majority of those using the scheme were first time buyers.

As well as helping people progress on the property ladder, the scheme has also proved to be great news for the housing industry, with 174 builders of all sizes across the country now offering Help to Buy - Wales shared equity loans on their properties.

With almost 1,400 completed sales and around 600 more in the pipeline, we’re on track to meet our ambition of supporting the completion of 5,000 new homes across Wales.

– Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty

The scheme is now being extended beyond March 31st 2016.

House prices in Cardiff rising faster than London

House prices in many of the UK's largest regional cities, including Cardiff, are rising at a faster rate than those in central London for the first time in a decade.

Average house price in Cardiff is now £178,200 up by 6.7%. Credit: PA

The growth in property values was due to ultra-low mortgage rates and growing consumer confidence in regional cities says Hometrack's report.

But political uncertainty, the possibility of a mansion tax and affordability pressures were taking their toll on London's most expensive boroughs.

In March, year-on-year house price growth was 7.6% in Glasgow, 6.8% in Manchester, 6.6% in Leeds, 9.7% in Bristol and 6.7% in Cardiff.

Hometrack said it was the first time since 2005 that it had recorded major cities outside central London out-performing boroughs in the heart of the capital.

Here are the average prices of a house in the UK's major cities in March, followed by the year-on-year rate of price growth, according to Hometrack:

  • Oxford, £373,100, 13.4%
  • Glasgow, £111,700, 7.6%
  • Leeds, £145,400, 6.6%
  • London (including the surrounding commuter areas), £417,500, 11.8%
  • Manchester, £138,700, 6.8%
  • Sheffield, £126,100, 6.3%
  • Newcastle, £121,800, 5.0%
  • Liverpool, £109,900, 3.5%
  • Birmingham, £135,000, 5.2%
  • Bristol, £219,500, 9.7%
  • Leicester, £142,600, 5.2%
  • Nottingham, £126,600, 5.8%
  • Bournemouth, £239,700, 5.6%
  • Portsmouth, £193,200, 6.7%
  • Cardiff, £178,200, 6.7%
  • Edinburgh, £193,400, 5.3%
  • Southampton, £192,300, 6.8%
  • Belfast, £113,100, 5.2%
  • Cambridge, £347,400, 7.4%
  • Aberdeen, £187,500, 7.8%
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