IT WAS Sir Anthony Eden who, as prime minister in the mid-1950s, had the vision of creating a property owning democracy.

Ever since, for successive Conservative governments, widening home ownership has been a core principle.

For too many of our people, home ownership was only a dream. They wanted to own their own home but it was beyond their reach.

Too many were denied the chance and opportunity to buy the homes in which they lived.

Home ownership encourages independence, self-reliance and aspiration. It gives people a stake in their communities.

Between 1979 and 1997 the Conservative government’s Right to Buy policy widened the opportunities for home ownership.

In Wales, over 130,000 families have had the opportunity to buy their own council house. That’s 130,000 families taking the first step on the property ladder, owning a home that they can pass on to the next generation.

The Welsh Government has been steadily undermining the Right to Buy in Wales.

First, they cut the discount available by half.

Then they suspended the scheme altogether in Carmarthenshire.

And now, they intend to abolish Right to Buy altogether.

This dogma-driven decision has nothing to do with increasing the supply of social housing in Wales.

The social housing crisis in Wales is the result of Welsh Labour’s missed building targets. Since 2004, successive Welsh Governments have been warned of an impending crisis unless it stepped up its house building.

The previous government was told by its own housing review that it would have to build at least fourteen thousand homes per year until 2026 in order to meet housing demand.

The Home Builders Federation states that poor planning and the higher costs associated with building homes in Wales have compromised investment.

There are around 23,000 empty properties in Wales. Some are in need of renovation.

Yet the previous Welsh Government made just over 7,500 empty properties available to re-join the housing stock.

We need a new approach to housing in Wales that meets the needs and aspirations of our people. An approach that does not kick away the ladder of opportunity and kill the hopes and dreams of so many families.

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