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17 July 2013

Minister announces housing measures

Press release from Welsh Government:

Housing Minister, Carl Sargeant, today announced the first phase of a package of measures that will support the housing industry and also deliver on his pledge to improve the quality and safety of houses in Wales.

Measures include the phased introduction of sprinklers in domestic properties and a revised target for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for new homes in Wales.

The Minister said: “I recognise that these are tough times for the housing industry and households alike and have also listened to the concerns expressed during the public consultations and by house builders.

"However, it is important that we continue to strive to deliver on the Welsh Government’s commitment to deliver safe and sustainable housing for the people of Wales.

“There is no question that fire sprinklers save lives. From April 2014 they will be required in all new and converted homes that are high risk in terms of death and injury, such as care homes, student halls and boarding houses.

“In lower risk residences, such as new houses and flats, sprinklers will be required from January 2016.

“Building regulations in relation to carbon emissions are also being amended. The revised target will be an 8% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions for domestic buildings when compared to the building regulations 2010 and a 20% decrease for non-domestic premises.

“These new targets continue to represent a step towards achieving the EU obligation for all new buildings to be built to zero carbon, and nearly zero energy houses by 2021.”

The Minister also announced that a shared equity scheme, Help to Buy Cymru, will be launched later this year to help buyers who are struggling to secure a mortgage or purchase an affordable family home.

The scheme is in addition to the NewBuy Cymru mortgage guarantee scheme, which the Welsh Government is continuing is explore with builders and lenders. Engaging all parties is essential in developing a viable scheme.

The Minister concluded “Building more homes is my priority. Doing this will not only meet growing housing need, but also generate growth and job, provide work to help people out of poverty and counter the effect of the bedroom tax.

“This package of measures represents the first phase of action to increase the supply of new homes in Wales. To build a rounded policy and encourage housing supply across all sectors, I have set up a small task force to look at the barriers to development. I will report further on this work in December.”