Plaid in call to increase social housing to tackle housing crisis

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Plaid Cymru shadow minister for housing Leanne Wood AM has said that Wales needs 20,000 more homes in the social housing sector to meet demand.

Ms Wood said that an extra 2,500 to 3,500 homes need to be added each year to the social housing stock in addition to the current 850 homes each year in order to meet Welsh housing needs. She said that the average supply of social housing is far from enough to meet the needs of Wales, and is making poverty worse as people face high rents and unaffordable housing.

Plaid Cymru is currently consulting on how to resolve the housing supply problem in Wales.

The consultation, led by Plaid Cymru shadow minister for housing Leanne Wood AM, focuses on involving communities in development and planning, supporting the social housing sector, and helping people to afford their first home. It will be launched today (Thursday, 28 March).

Ms Wood had previously said that local authorities should utilise more of their power to bring empty properties back into use.  There are currently 26,500 empty homes in Wales.

Leanne Wood AM and Plaid Cymru shadow minister for housing said,

“We need to substantially increase the rate at which Wales is building Social Housing rather than making it easier for increased private sector building through relaxing planning laws or de-regulation. This would require an extra 2,500 to 3,500 homes added to the social housing stock in addition to the current 850 homes each year in order to meet the future demands. It’s clear the existing planning system relies far too  much on ‘trickle down’ – hoping that developers will concede small percentages of housing to be ‘affordable’ and failing to achieve even that.

“Plans for housing estates in future must be based on a partnership between Developers, Local Authorities and Housing Associations, so that the proportion of social housing in these developments can be substantially increased, we create mixed communities, and the supporting community and public service infrastructure is funded and delivered.

“Any future developments should also include far greater consideration of the Welsh language and local need.

“Alternative sources of housing supply should be encouraged through an increase in the focus on bringing empty properties back into use, the building of Scandinavian style Social Care housing, and encouraging smaller eco-friendly developments and self-builds.

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