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Welsh Assembly to scrap 'right to buy'
Jaime Davies, Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf Socialist Party
The Welsh Assembly has announced it plans to scrap Thatcher's ruinous 'right to buy' policy in Wales. The Socialist Party welcomes this move - but this alone will not be enough to solve the housing crisis.
Socialists fully understand working class people deciding to buy their council homes after Thatcher introduced the policy in 1981. Home ownership can provide partial security against the instability of life under capitalism.
We also welcome the Welsh Assembly's decision to abolish the right to buy within the next year. It is one of the fundamental causes for the shortage of housing in Wales and across the UK.
While ex-council houses have been on the market for the past three and a half decades, councils have not replaced them. Private sector buying and renting is very expensive, and not able to make up the shortfall.
Although welcome, the assembly's decision doesn't go far enough. In order to truly tackle decades-long queues for council housing and meet demand, particularly from young people still stuck at home on low wages, the Welsh Assembly must commit to a mass house building programme. In the process this would create the opportunity for a lot of unemployed people to gain skilled jobs.
Devolved and local governments across the UK should follow suit by abolishing the right to buy. And go further - plan mass building of council homes, and cap private sector rents, so that affordable homes are guaranteed for all.
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