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Wales Green Party – Transform Wales

Housing features as one of the ten top points in the party’s Green Guarantee.

The Wales Green Party says that ‘housing is a basic human right. Everybody has the right to a secure, affordable, warm home that allows for a socially inclusive life’. The party would build 12,000 new homes a year, built to the highest environmental and energy efficiency standards. The majority of these would be for social housing to meet the urgent need.

A Green government would also ensure sufficient, ongoing investment to enable the retrofitting of the existing housing stock to the highest energy efficient standards, lifting thousands out of fuel poverty.

A Green New Deal would create tens of thousands of new green jobs and invest in carbon reducing infrastructure and a Green Transformation Fund would raise finance to tackle the twin crises of the climate and nature emergencies. As part of this, the party would introduce a Universal Basic Income to ensure basic financial security for all.

These policies are seen as especially important in the valleys, where a massive refurb of homes would create warm and secure housing, attracting young families, and create jobs for local people. Meanwhile Universal Basic Income would ‘end the trap of a toxic and punitive benefits system’.

The Greens say poor housing, inflated house prices and second homes have pushed families out entirely in some pockets of rural Wales. Here, the Green New Deal would provide warm and secure homes for full-time residents with reduced costs.

Other action promised on the environment includes:

  • Making buildings and homes more energy efficient with efficiency measures in new buildings, homes and retro-fitting financed by the Green Transformation Fund for Wales to reduce energy demand and ensure warm healthy homes.
  • Supporting the Foundation Economy approach prioritising the economic power of properly funded public services to support strengthening local economy and small local business, including the cultural and service industries.

In terms of community, the Greens would take action on planning to develop varied and welcoming neighbourhoods, put place-making at the heart of planning and ensure a presumption against development in areas at risk from river flooding and previously undeveloped land and important agricultural and natural areas.

The party would also ‘ensure everyone has basic financial security and good housing for all’ with action including:

  • Introducing Universal Basic Income – this would support people to contribute to society, take up meaningful work and education and training, increase cultural and community activities and enjoy the benefits of automation and greater leisure time.
  • Ensuring access to financial services by supporting local banks and mutual societies and credit unions.
  • Committing to affordable, accessible, secure and decent housing as a human right and the right to accommodation that allows for socially inclusive lives.
  • Ending homelessness as a priority and giving those in need of housing a voice in planning processes, in conjunction with attention to removing the causes of homelessness such as better mental health, addiction services and financial inclusion support.
  • Creating price stability in housing by regulating to make speculation in housing less attractive and to increase the housing supply. The Greens say they would return to ‘the principle that houses are homes and not primarily investments’.
  • Providing for 12,000 new homes a year through the National Development Plan, built in the right places to the right standards, with access to green space. Most of these would be for social housing supported by training for the jobs created in the industry.
  • All new housing to be built to zero carbon standards, meaning lower bills and a better quality of life and taking the natural environment into account.
  • Ensuring sufficient, ongoing investment, and collaborative funding schemes, to enable the retrofitting of existing housing stock to the highest energy efficiency standards. Ideas include GTFW Green Bonds issues and opportunities for local investment in community energy and removing the 5 per cent VAT currently charged on refurbishment materials.
  • Ending the bedroom tax by the use of discretionary housing payments.
  • Providing greater security for tenants by phasing out assured shortholds.
  • Give people struggling with the mortgage security via a Right to Rent scheme.

The Welsh Greens would advocate a Land Value Tax and giving the public sector and not-for-profit housing organisations greater powers to buy land at agricultural prices will encourage developers to build houses rather than sit on land banks.

See http://wales.greenparty.org.uk/ for more details.

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