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Carmarthenshire County Council suspends Right to Buy homes scheme

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 09, 2013

By Graeme Wilkinson

Mark James

Mark James

Comments (8)

PEOPLE in Carmarthenshire will no longer be able to buy their council houses under a proposed change in the rules.

The Right To Buy was introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1980 but now Carmarthenshire councillors have applied to have the scheme suspended in the county.

The councillors said it was vital to prevent them losing anymore council houses from their stock of homes.

They were also hopeful that the rules would be relaxed later this year so the council could start to build its own council houses again.

Speaking at a meeting of the full council, Councillor Giles Morgan said: "At the time, I thought Right To Buy was an excellent thing and, for a lot of people, it has changed their lives. Now I think we are in dire need of social housing and I do welcome the suspension.

"I welcome the time we can build our own houses, in partnership, because there is a very great need for it now."

Council chief executive Mark James said councils in England had been given money by the UK Government to build houses and a decision by the Welsh Government was expected later this year.

He said the council owned 16,000 houses in 1980 compared with 9,000 homes today.

Council leader Kevin Madge said: "In my 35 years as a councillor, I've not seen a chance to start with building council houses.

"Our forefathers built a lot of houses and we can take that forward now."

Councillor Alan Speake said the problem was people staying in council houses their entire lives. He asked what incentives there were for people to buy their own home.

"I agree 100 per cent with what's been said and we should not be selling any more houses," he added. The meeting was told a possible county council mortgage scheme had been held up by legal issues.

The councillors agreed to suspend the Right To Buy scheme and sent their proposal back to the Welsh Government.

Neath Port Talbot Council no longer has responsibility for social housing but Swansea Council is set to consider whether tenants should have their rights to buy their homes suspended.

Findings show there is a significant shortage of affordable housing in Swansea, and during the past decade more than 1,500 council houses have been sold off under the Right to Buy scheme.

Councillor June Burtonshaw, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Place, said recently: "The lack of affordable housing is not just an issue in Swansea; it's an issue affecting many parts of the country."

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8 comments

  • immigrant1  |  February 11 2013, 3:09PM

    If social housing is such a great thing, why are there so many empty social houses that no-one wants to live in. No point building houses that no-one wants. To send people to live in places like Bonymaen, Portmead, Blaenymaes, Mayhill, Townhill, is a terrible state of affairs. Why do you want people to live in dumps like that when they could be living in private housing, which is usually a much higher standard. Sounds like most of you like seeing people suffer.

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  • immigrant1  |  February 11 2013, 3:05PM

    Labour should be helping people to better themselves so that they don't need social housing. Building social housing for future generations is an admission that you plan to fail. I would hate to have to live in social housing.

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  • thomastdout  |  February 10 2013, 9:32AM

    immigrant1 Never has a truer word been spoken,liebor would like everyone to be a client of the liebor state.

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  • lancelot69  |  February 09 2013, 11:19PM

    If they can afford to buy a house then a council house is not for them. There are millions of empty homes at very reasonable prices. Anyone applying for a mortgage would have to go through the same criteria process anyway! Why not free up the council houses for council tenants who need them, thus decreasing the number on waiting lists. Well done i say.

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  • Carnabwth  |  February 09 2013, 8:57PM

    Properties are empty for varying reasons. Rather than fleecing the empty property owners by wheeling and dealing with cartels obtaining cheap properties under value. Would it not be better to work with empty home owners. That would be too honest now would it?

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  • intelligent1  |  February 09 2013, 2:02PM

    immigrant1 have you never thought that they are actually protecting social housing so that it is there for future generations - you are only thinking of yourself. If they sell all the council houses then what will people do in the future when thye find themselves in need of social housing. People ended up making thousands from the right to buy scheme when they lived in council houses when their circumstances changed and found they had the money to buy them, then they sold them. Its a sham the right to buy scheme ever started. If all the council houses had been preserved as such the country wouldnt be paying out milions of pounds a year in housing benefit to house people in over priced private houses,

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  • antyall  |  February 09 2013, 1:36PM

    immigratI. More homes were repossessed under thatcher partly due to this policy.people were encouraged to buy homes that they could not afford,people lost their jobs due to factory closures,factories that supplied British Leland whent to the wall. ,and just to make things better Councils were STOPED building council housing causing another vacuum where people could no longer get a home in their locality. Not every one has the privilege of being able to leave the community they grew up in and settle elsewhere. The selling of social housing is wrong on so many fronts.

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  • immigrant1  |  February 09 2013, 11:51AM

    Labour want to stop poorer people from getting on in life. Labour would rather they all stayed poor and dependent on social housing. What a shocking way to treat people. At least Thatcher and the Tories gave these people some hope in life. All taken away by Labour. They should be ashamed of themselves.

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