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19 November 2013

Housing Bill spells out action to make Wales a better place to live

Press release from Welsh Government:

Housing Minister, Carl Sargeant, has published Wales’ first Housing Bill which sets out an ambitious programme of action to make Wales a better place to live and ensure that everyone in Wales is able to access a decent home.
Carl Sargeant said:

”A decent, affordable home is a vital part of everyone’s life. The benefits go way beyond the roof over our heads. It’s central to good health and well-being.

“A good home represents the best possible start in life for children, and is the foundation for strong, safe and fair communities. It also has an important role to play in the economy. Building new homes and repairing existing homes generates much needed jobs, apprenticeships and training opportunities.

“Despite the impact of austerity measures and budget decisions taken by the UK Government, the Welsh Government is determined to improve the supply, quality and standards of housing and the proposals in this Housing Bill are crucial in achieving this.”

The Bill takes forward proposals set out in the Housing White Paper “Homes for Wales” in 2012. It sets out a series of legislative proposals that will make a difference to people and communities in Wales by:

• Helping people access a decent, affordable home and ensuring those at risk of becoming homeless receive the help they need.
• Raising standards in the private rented sector and placing a greater emphasis on action to prevent people from becoming homeless.
• Providing local authorities with the power to introduce, should they wish to do so, an increased rate of council tax on long term empty homes.
• Placing a duty on local authorities to provide sites for Gypsy and Traveller communities where a need has been identified.
• Assisting the expansion of co-operative housing as another way of increasing the supply of affordable homes.
• Setting standards for those local authorities that retain their housing stock on rents, services charges and quality of accommodation and supporting the achievement of the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.
• Abolishing the Housing Revenue Account Subsidy system to enable stock retaining local authorities to become self-financing.

The Minister added:

“The Welsh Government is determined to make a positive difference to people’s lives and to do all it can to meet housing need. This Bill is very welcome as it will make a significant contribution to this Government’s priority of delivering more homes, better homes and better services across Wales.”

Please see the full written statement on the following link: http://wales.gov.uk/about/cabinet/cabinetstatements/2013/8207341/?lang=en