Cymdeithas yr Iaith have welcomed a commitment made by the First Minister, Mark Drakeford MS, to introduce a "package of proposals” to tackle the housing crisis but emphasise that the policy package "needs to be radical and comprehensive".
Speaking on the BBC's Sunday Supplement programme yesterday (Sunday, 6 June), the First Minister said that he "expects the Cabinet to have a paper before the end of this month drawing together all those ideas and giving us some practical proposals to consider", adding that the Government will also respond to Dr. Simon Brooks's recommendations from his paper.
The Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, Mabli Siriol, said:
"It is encouraging to hear the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, reiterate his commitment to introduce a package of measures to tackle the housing crisis: the current crisis is threatening communities across Wales and the very survival of the Welsh language, so it is vital that the Government acts now to tackle it. The seriousness and scale of the crisis means that half measures will not be enough to protect Wales’ communities. We are calling for a cap to be placed on the percentage of second homes in a community, for rent prices to be controlled so that they are affordable for people on local wages, and for a super-tax on landlords' profits to invest in bringing empty houses and second homes back into community use; these are the kind of radical and comprehensive measures that the Government will need to implement as part of its package of proposals if we have any hope of tackling the national housing crisis.
"It is therefore clear that small, local measures will not be enough to tackle the housing crisis, as these tend to ignore the wider economic context that caused the national crisis in the first place; it is also true that all local housing crises affect each other, meaning that we cannot really tackle the housing crisis anywhere without tackling it nationally. The crisis is also an issue of social and economic injustice, with ordinary people in all parts of Wales finding it impossible to buy a house in their community, while rich people buy second and third houses, inflating house prices and destroying community life - the Government’s package of proposals will need to reflect this class dimension to the crisis."
"The Government also needs to introduce a Property Act in order to ensure community control of the housing market and local homes for all, in all parts of Wales; the right to a home is an absolutely fundamental right, and we should not let this fundamental right be threatened by the selfishness of the rich and an economic system that prioritises capitalism over our communities."
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