The Welsh Liberal Democrats have hit out at Labour’s "lack of ambition" to tackle Wales’ housing crisis, ahead of a Welsh Government debate in the Assembly on affordable housing targets.
Labour Ministers’ targets aiming for only 10,000 affordable homes to be built over five years. A report produced by the late Professor Holmans for the Welsh Government says that at least 5,000 affordable homes need to be built every year, far greater than the number currently targeted.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have announced plans to set a target of 20,000 affordable homes, in part through increasing the Social Housing Grant from £35 million to £75 million per year.
Statistics may show that 2,218 Affordable Homes have been built in Wales this year, but 692 units have been lost on average through demolition and Right to Buy. The Welsh Government have therefore only actually delivered 1,526 affordable homes this year, a small step towards their 10,000 target.
Peter Black AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Housing Minister, said:
"Labour like to grandstand on housing and boast what they call achievements, but the reality is that their lack of ambition on housing is holding Wales back and hurting Welsh families.
"The Welsh Liberal Democrats are the only party with the ambition to tackle Wales’ housing crisis. We believe that every person should be able to provide a secure environment for their family.
"The contrast between Welsh Lib Dem ambition and Labour’s record couldn’t be starker. People rightly expect their Government to provide enough affordable homes for the people they claim to represent, and Labour Ministers have fallen far from the mark.
"For decades, successive Conservative and Labour governments have not built enough homes. This has left us with a crippling undersupply of housing while demand for social housing has soared. Welsh Liberal Democrats will take action to address this imbalance.
The Main Current Programme Cash Limited Allocation for new housing within the Social Housing Grant budget is £35million per year. The Welsh Liberal Democrats will double this to £70m per year in the next Assembly term.
The Welsh Government’s target for the current Assembly term is to build 10,000 new affordable homes between 2011-2016. The Welsh Liberal Democrats would double this target for the next Assembly term.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats recently announced plans to help first-time buyers to get on the property ladder through a proposed ‘Rent to Buy’ scheme. First-time buyers will steadily build up a share in their home through monthly payments equivalent to rent until they own the property outright after 30 years, just like a normal mortgage. The party will aim to deliver at least 2,500 rent to own homes over an Assembly term.
There are more than 5,000 homeless households in Wales, 40% of whom are currently living in temporary accommodation.