Protecting Wales’ social housing stock

New measures to protect Wales’ social housing stock have been put forward by the Welsh Government.

Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths, has published a White Paper setting out the Welsh Government’s intention to end Right to Buy and Right to Acquire.

The Right to Buy and Right to Acquire allows eligible social housing tenants to buy their council or housing association home at a discount of up to £16,000.

Over the past 30 years, the policy has resulted in a significant reduction in social housing stock. Between 1981 and 2014, 138,423 council homes were sold – this is a 45% reduction in the social housing available when the policy was first introduced.

The Minister has also set out plans today to halve the current maximum discount from £16,000 to £8,000.

Lesley Griffiths said:

“Many families depend on social housing for a safe, secure and affordable place to live.

“Our supply of homes is under considerable pressure and we are still seeing social rented properties being taken out of our social housing stock because of the Right to Buy, which is forcing many vulnerable people to wait longer for a home. This is why decisive action is needed to protect our social housing to make sure it is available for those who need it most.”

The Housing (Wales) Measure 2011 allows local authorities to apply for permission to suspend the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire locally to help tackle housing pressures. Carmarthenshire Council was the first local authority to ask the Welsh Government to suspend of Right to Buy and, today, the Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths, approved Carmarthenshire’s application.