Plaid Cymru’s Jonathan Edwards MP and Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM – spokespeople on Communities and Local Government in both Westminster and the Assembly respectively – have criticised the Welsh Government for failing to reach a deal on the Housing Revenue Account subsidy scheme under which Welsh local authorities will pay the UK Treasury £73m this year alone.

The system, originally designed to ensure fairness in housing costs for local authorities, is being scrapped in England under legislation in the Localism Bill.

An announcement this week by the Welsh Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage, argues that Wales was not disadvantaged by rule changes in England in 2001. Since 2001, 21 of the 22 Welsh local authorities have made a net loss under the scheme.

A Plaid Cymru amendment to the Localism Bill tabled by Lord Wigley will ensure a House of Lords debate regarding the amount contributed by Wales.

Jonathan Edwards MP said:

The Labour Minister for Housing has confirmed that Wales will continue to send £73m of Welsh money back to the Treasury in Westminster that should be spent on local housing and construction in Wales.

“This Housing Revenue Account subsidy scheme has seen more than £1bn of council house rents returned to London since devolution began – and with Labour in charge at both ends of the M4.

“That is hardly ‘standing up for Wales’.

“With the Housing Revenue Account subsidy scheme being scrapped in England and not in operation elsewhere in the UK, it is only Wales that will continue to lose out.

“Only 39% of Welsh local authorities are expected to meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard – in part because they have sent tens of millions of pounds back to London under this scheme rather than improving their housing stock.

“Plaid Cymru has laid an amendment to the Localism Bill that the Treasury should no longer receive receipts as a result of the Housing Revenue Account and that these should remain in Wales, where they belong.”

Constituency Colleague, Rhodri Glyn Thomas, added:

“The Minister’s statement, by only addressing one part of the problem, demonstrates that the Labour party is clueless to the scandal that is being forced on Welsh local authorities.

“Carmarthenshire County Council alone has returned £51 million to the UK Treasury since the creation of the Assembly.  Think about how many council houses could have been upgraded or how many new council houses could have built in our county with that money.

“When will the Labour party understand the unfairness of this system and when are Labour Minister’s planning to stick to their election pledge and ‘Stand up for Wales’ to stop our local authorities loosing this significant amount of money year after year?”



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