1,000 Welsh Children face uncertain 2010 in temporary accomodation - Welsh Lib Dems

2010 Ionawr 12 2:43 PM

Today, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for the UK Government andWelsh Assembly Government to take action to increase the level of socialhousing after Welsh Liberal Democrat research revealed that 1,000 youngpeople in Wales are living in temporary accommodation, and a further4,000 are living in housing considered 'overcrowded'.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Wales Roger Williams MPwrote to all local authorities in Wales to see the scale of the problem.

The Liberal Democrats have long argued that more empty homes could bebrought back into use, and have put forward policies to use innovative funding schemes to encourage housing associations to use long-term empty properties, much of which the Welsh Assembly Government has the power tointroduce.

They are also arguing that VAT on rebuild on repair should be reduced to5% to encourage developers to refurbish existing empty homes.

Commenting, Roger Williams said:

"The government has failed to encourage the development of empty homes,and local authorities are not getting the assistance they need to ensurethat children and families are not left in temporary accommodation.

"This kind of uncertainty can be very damaging for children andfamilies, and local authorities must be assisted to ensure that youngpeople are not left in this type of environment.

"There is a real problem with the lack of social housing - somethingwhich Westminster governments have allowed to develop over decades, butit is a particular scandal that so many children do not have a placethey can call home.

"The Welsh Assembly Government need the Housing LCO to assist them ineasing this crisis, but they already have powers that could help toreduce the burden on local authorities that are not being fully used."

On reducing VAT for rebuild and repair Roger added:

"The Government should be doing everything they can to incentivisebuilders and developers to bring empty homes back into use, but theyhave stubbornly rejected our calls to reduce VAT on rebuild and repairsto 5%.

"We are wasting an untapped resource that can reduce the gap between thedemand for social housing and the stock, and these figures show thatvulnerable people such as children and families are unfortunately payingthe price for the Government's lack of foresight."

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