“I can’t find a place to live,” is the constant call these days, not just from first-time buyers but right across all ages.

As the average cost of a house in Powys has grown to 212,000 as opposed to the Wales average of 185,000 and a 12.1 per cent annual increase whilst the average Powys wage in 2020 was only £28,666, it has made the cost of purchasing a house over seven times wages.

The Westminster Government did the fundamental mistake of getting rid of stamp duty last year thus fueling a artificial housing boom to mask the true situation of the economy. This benefited those already asset rich at the expense of all others. The UK obsession with housing detracts from what we should be doing; investing in the wider economy and enterprise rather than leaving manufacturing to the Chinese.

We already see communities in Devon and Cornwall limiting holiday homes, Scotland is proposing local housing markets in rural communities and even some English Conservatives are supporting a ban on holiday homes.

Even in coastal communities in Australia they are proposing a limit on Air bnbs. Yet here we have another consultation by Welsh Government – another talking shop when clear decisive action is needed.

If we are serious about ensuring that every person has the fundamental right of a decent home then let’s take these steps:

• limit the number of second homes in communities• ensure that second homes and Air bnbs need planning permission before converting a residential house

• close the tax avoidance loopholes

• assist buyers to purchase from current housing stock with joint ownership schemes etc not just selected new build estates

• allow housing associations to purchase and renovate from old housing within communities rather than merely create new estates on the fringes

• create local housing markets enabling local purchasers

• ensure fair rents

Yet despite all these pressures on ordinary working families, the inability to get homes, what are our Powys Conservative MP and MS representatives pushing Powys Council to do; they want more executive homes to be built at the expense of everyone else – one can but presume to try and ensure more Conservative voters rather than the wider interests of our communities.

If we want living, vibrant communities where our young people can thrive then we need to take action now.

Cllr Elwyn Vaughan.

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