Plaid call for scrapping of Housing subsidy system that costs Wales £80million a year

Plaid Cymru’s Jonathan Edwards MP has called for the UK Government housing minister to meet with his opposite number at the Welsh Assembly Government in order to discuss the future of the housing revenue account subsidy system.

Under this system, Welsh local authorities paid £80million back to the Treasury in 2008-2009. Carmarthenshire County Council itself was forced to return £5.5million to London.

A consultation on local authority housing funding in England will finish on Tuesday, 6th July, and Mr Edwards has laid an early day motion to ensure that the UK Government liaises appropriately with the Welsh Government.

Mr Edwards said:

“It is a ridiculous situation that Welsh local authorities are being penalised to this extent for running their housing budgets effectively.

“In a time of hardship and cuts, this is more than £80million which could be re-invested in the local economy, boosting affordable housing construction, stimulating the local economy and creating new jobs.

“In England they are reviewing the effect of this unfair subsidy system, but the review does not extend to Wales.

“When the consultation period ends on Tuesday and the UK Government begin to analyse the results, they should meet with the Welsh housing minister, Jocelyn Davies, to discuss how we can work together to right this wrong.

“Wales has an older than average housing stock than England, and returning this £80m back to Wales where it belongs is very important to ensure that all affordable housing in Wales is able to meet the Welsh Quality Housing Standard.”

DIWEDD / ENDS

Nodiadau / Notes:

EDM 371

That this House recognises that Welsh councils paid in excess of £80 million in housing revenue to the Treasury in 2008-09 under the unfair housing revenue account subsidy system; welcomes the admission by the new Housing Minister on 10 June 2010, Official Report, column 453, that there are problems with the operation of the present scheme in England and in Wales, and also his agreement that this money would be better used if re-invested locally; notes that this system is currently under review; calls for the ending of this iniquitous system, which penalises local authorities for administering their housing budgets effectively; believes that scrapping the housing revenue account subsidy system would assist Welsh local authorities to retain their housing stock, help them meet the Welsh Quality Housing Standard, boost affordable housing construction, stimulate economic activity and create local jobs; and calls on the relevant Government ministers to meet with their Welsh Assembly Government counterparts on any further decisions relevant to the housing revenue account subsidy system.

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