An Article written by CWS Chairman Llyr Powell:
The solution is to build more houses, not to prohibit people from owning their own homes. A very regressive step by the Labour Welsh Government.
Right to buy, the savage Thatcherite policy of turning poor people into homeowners, is to be scrapped on the 26th of January 2019 by the Welsh Labour Government. Labours decision to revoke the ‘Right to Buy’ in Wales will undermine social mobility in Wales, depriving thousands of families of an opportunity to get on the housing ladder for the first time.
When someone owns their own home, they have a potentially life-long stake in that property, meaning they will have stronger stake in their village, town or city in which they live. This provides them with the security they need to start a family, and helping them enormously to work locally and contribute to the local economy. The community also becomes less transient as more people become almost as permanent residents, fostering a greater sense of community and social cohesion. Home ownership is one of the greatest economic and social catalysts there could possibly be in any advance society, despite this the Welsh Labour Government wish to push this goal out of site for many of those who they claim to support.
The ‘Right to Buy’ scheme has been the most successful driver for social change in more than 30 years and contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t originally a Tory party policy. It actually was in Labours 1959 manifesto – the Tories just stole the idea in the 1980 under the early days of Margret Thatcher’s Government.
You can look at it two ways.
One way that it’s the only viable solution for some of Wales’s lowest earners to own the home they live in instead of paying the landlords and of course releasing the burden on the taxpayer. In turn, the former council tenant gets to own an asset which they use in whichever way they want. It helps social mobility and gets generations out of the trap of relying on the state.
On the other side, it can be seen as the snowball effect of privatising what affordable housing is left in Wales, meaning generations of the poorest in Wales will struggle to find a home. Critics of ‘Right to Buy’ usually neglect to point out the obvious fact that those buying under scheme are some of the lowest earners in Wales and the only thing that has changed is that the new purchasers are able to invest in their own asset rather than line the pockets of a landlord.
Welsh Labour have scrapped the ‘Right to Buy’ not because it doesn’t work, over 140,000 house shows it works. They have scrapped it as a sign of intent. A Thatcher-era policy still standing? Scrap it!