Labour has criticised proposals unveiled by the Welsh Conservatives aimed at boosting affordable housing. The plans include revitalising the right-to-buy scheme but insisting that a new home is built for each one sold to a tenant. Click here to read more.
Labour AM Mike Hedges criticised the Welsh Conservatives for 'astonishing nerve' in bringing forward 'poorly thought-out housing proposals.' He said:
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. The fact that there is scant or no attention paid to the quality of homes, tenants, homelessness or social housing in these proposals show how out of touch the Tories have become and how distant they are to the results of their austerity politics in Westminster.
Their proposed reform of Right to Buy suggests spending all the receipts on housing on a one to one basis – if you offer tenants the opportunity to buy their homes at a discount, then will the receipt to enough to build a replacement property – where would any additional resources come from to deliver a one for one initiative?
It follows a delay in the UK Government's response to the Silk Commission which last year recommended the transfer. A Welsh Conservative spokesman had this to say:
Our public commitment to the full implementation of Silk One remains unswerving. Perhaps Mike Hedges’ short memory has also forgotten his running Swansea Council into the ground. It is Labour’s squandering of public money that Silk’s recommendations – when introduced - will properly hold to account.
The Welsh Conservative leader should put pressure on his Westminster colleagues to speed up a decision on transferring tax and borrowing powers, according to a Labour AM. The transfer was recommended last year by the Silk Commission, but the UK Government still hasn't given its response.
I cannot remember a more toothless Welsh Tory leader. He seems to be utterly ignored not only by his Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Wales but his own colleagues in Cardiff Bay.
If he’s got any real sway within Tory ranks, he should stop dithering and put pressure on his Westminster colleagues to remove their roadblock on progress and give the Welsh Labour Government the tools to deliver for the people of Wales.
The Wales Office has said it takes the Silk Commission recommendations seriously but that it needs to make sure the decision is taken carefully and considers the findings of a consultation on Stamp Duty Land Tax.