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Welsh Government publishes Programme for Government

First minister Carwyn Jones has unveiled key commitments on housing in a five-year Programme for Government for the next Assembly term.

The programme includes a pledge to work in partnership to deliver 20,000 affordable homes between 2016 and 2021, including support for the construction of 6,000 homes through the Help to Buy scheme. A target of 10,000 affordable homes, not including Help to Buy, was met in the last Assembly term.

Other key housing measures include the introduction of a new ‘Rent to Own’ housing model, exploration of options to end landbanking and continuation of long-term collaboration with housebuilders to deliver accelerated construction rates. Taking Wales Forward also includes a commitment to safeguard social housing in rural areas buy ending Right to Buy and continuing to support the work of rural housing enablers.

Other plans include a Ministerial Taskforce for the valleys, delivery of the Cardiff City Regional Deal and development of a similar deal for Swansea and a Growth Deal for Wales.

The legislative programme includes the Land Transaction Tax Bill (announced last week) plus a Bill to abolish the Right to Buy.

Kevin Howell, director of CIH Cymru, said:

‘Collaboration, innovation and evidence based investment will be critical components to ending the housing crisis in Wales. Good quality homes, to buy or to rent, play a vital role in creating a stronger, fairer and healthier Wales and so it’s good to see housing included in the new Programme for Government.

‘As part of the Homes for Wales coalition we called for an ambitious plan for housing and so we welcome the Welsh Government’s commitment to a target of 20,000 affordable homes.’

Stuart Ropke, chief executive of Community Housing Cymru (CHC), said:

‘We now need to ensure that the Welsh Government matches its ambitions with funding, and creates a policy environment to support this delivery, including continuing to provide a fair rent settlement and in the event of reclassification, ensuring that housing associations return to the private sector.’

‘The Programme for Government also confirmed that legislation will be brought forward to end the right to buy in Wales. Around 130,000 council homes have been bought under Right to Buy since 1980 which has had a huge impact on the supply of affordable housing.’

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