Carmarthenshire County Council suspends Right to Buy homes scheme
PEOPLE in Carmarthenshire will no longer be able to buy their council houses under a proposed change in the rules.
The Right To Buy was introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1980 but now Carmarthenshire councillors have applied to have the scheme suspended in the county.
The councillors said it was vital to prevent them losing anymore council houses from their stock of homes.
They were also hopeful that the rules would be relaxed later this year so the council could start to build its own council houses again.
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Speaking at a meeting of the full council, Councillor Giles Morgan said: "At the time, I thought Right To Buy was an excellent thing and, for a lot of people, it has changed their lives. Now I think we are in dire need of social housing and I do welcome the suspension.
"I welcome the time we can build our own houses, in partnership, because there is a very great need for it now."
Council chief executive Mark James said councils in England had been given money by the UK Government to build houses and a decision by the Welsh Government was expected later this year.
He said the council owned 16,000 houses in 1980 compared with 9,000 homes today.
Council leader Kevin Madge said: "In my 35 years as a councillor, I've not seen a chance to start with building council houses.
"Our forefathers built a lot of houses and we can take that forward now."
Councillor Alan Speake said the problem was people staying in council houses their entire lives. He asked what incentives there were for people to buy their own home.
"I agree 100 per cent with what's been said and we should not be selling any more houses," he added. The meeting was told a possible county council mortgage scheme had been held up by legal issues.
The councillors agreed to suspend the Right To Buy scheme and sent their proposal back to the Welsh Government.
Neath Port Talbot Council no longer has responsibility for social housing but Swansea Council is set to consider whether tenants should have their rights to buy their homes suspended.
Findings show there is a significant shortage of affordable housing in Swansea, and during the past decade more than 1,500 council houses have been sold off under the Right to Buy scheme.
Councillor June Burtonshaw, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Place, said recently: "The lack of affordable housing is not just an issue in Swansea; it's an issue affecting many parts of the country."