Calls for more council houses to be built to fight bedroom tax
9:16am Thursday 10th July 2014 in News
PROPOSED changes to Vale council funding that will mean an extra £2.25m per year will be spent on council houses have been welcomed by Plaid Cymru.
Councillor Ian Johnson welcomed the changes which were agreed in last week’s full council meeting, but are subject to the agreement of the Welsh Government and ten other Welsh councils.
The changes are to the Housing Revenue Account subsidy scheme, a Westminster scheme under which 21 of the 22 Welsh local authorities gave council house rents to London rather than spending them on housing improvements.
A recent agreement will bring the scheme to an end for Welsh councils, with the Vale of Glamorgan benefitting by a little more than £2.25m.
It was confirmed in full council that this money was ringfenced for spending on housing.
Plaid Cymru councillor Ian Johnson said: "It is excellent news that more than £2.25m per year will be available for council housing improvements or building new council houses in the Vale in future.
“I have long campaigned against the unfair Housing Revenue Account system, or the Great Welsh Rent Robbery as one government adviser called it.
“Spending on housing improvements, as we have seen with the Welsh Housing Quality Standard scheme not only improves the quality of social housing, but also creates jobs locally - a win-win situation.
“As the WHQS funding has already been budgeted for, this is additional money for the Vale, and we also have the choice to borrow more money for new housing as well.
“Because of the bedroom tax, there is a shortage of one-bedroom accommodation.
“There is also a need for more adapted housing, suitable for older people who want to live at home and not go into care. Good work is currently being carried out under the Intermediate Care Fund that Plaid Cymru agreed with the government last year to make housing adaptations, but that is a short term fund.
“This additional money means that we can start to address both of those short-supply housing issues."