A flagship One Wales pledge to give grants to first time buyers so as to make their homes more energy efficient has been quietly dropped by the Welsh Government due to a lack of interest.
The scheme was introduced as a compromise in the One Wales Agreement in place of one of Plaid Cymru’s top seven manifesto pledges to provide cash to help people buy their first home. It was to operate as a pilot scheme available to local authorities in certain areas and to be offered as an energy efficiency grant for first time buyers. People buying new build properties or properties under the right to buy were not eligible to apply.
However, according to the answer to a written question from Welsh Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson, Peter Black, this pilot scheme has now been quietly dropped and the money transferred into the mortgage rescue scheme.
“At the time that this compromise was mooted Welsh Liberal Democrats argued that it was badly targeted and that it would not help a single person onto the property ladder,” said Mr. Black. “I believe that the fact that it has now been abandoned due to lack of demand vindicates that judgement. This was yet another gimmick that was diverting much needed funds from core services.
“I welcome the fact that the money has now gone to help people avoid repossession and homelessness, but even the mortgage rescue scheme is in difficulty because of the overly restrictive criteria that applies to it. Given the current problems with the economy and the growing shortage of affordable houses to rent, the Welsh Government needs to address this shortfall or else we will see a dramatic growth in homeless applications and families living in temporary accommodation.”