Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Plaid & Housing

Glad to see that Plaid actually took the issue of affordable housing seriously in their manifesto.

Not quite sure if the £5k will work without pushing the prices of houses up further. One thing Plaid could do, which would be easier to implement and not cost anything, is tackle the issue of social housing, especially in rural areas where houses are given to people outside the county.

The issue is clearly made by Cllr. Gareth Winston Roberts of Amlwch on Anglesey who wants the points system changed to favour local people and who supports Cymuned's www.cartrefi.com campaign.

It's incredible that the exact people any county needs to keep - young people, doing important jobs (all jobs are important) who may have children - are unable to get social housing. Why? Because counties like Ynys Môn are obliged, or are given financial incentives, to take in people from the big cities in England. There's an issue of opportunity for these people, but surely the first priority of a county council is to invest in people whose parents or they have paid taxes over a period of years?

There's also the question of language - the Welsh language. I nearly chocked when I saw the 10 o'Clock News on the BBC the other night, showing that the English were concerned that such a large percentage of school children came from non-English speaking families. This, the English told us, was creating difficulty in integrating and teaching.

Duw, this is the situation Welsh has been living with for centuries but the Brit Nats called us racists for raising this concern. Try immersing kids from Liverpool or Birmingham in a Welsh school - that's a challenge.

With discussions on the future make-up of the Government still on-going, Plaid should make housing one of their core demands in any coalition or supporting role. Plaid should champion the right of councils to prioritise those from their county or who have employment in the county to have social housing. This is both logical (it also keeps extended families together - saving tax-payers money in the long-term) and, in Welsh-speaking areas, gives the Welsh language a living chance.

Housing is a massive issue. The Brit Nats in the Labour party have done nothing - after all betraying the Welsh working class is a price worth paying if it means weakening the Welsh language.

Plaid has some good policies - but revamping the points system would be more effective, and fairer, than the £5k loan.

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