Page last updated at 17:30 GMT, Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Housing statement

Welsh Housing Minister, Huw Lewis told AMs on 8 January 2013 a scheme launched in February 2012 to bring empty properties back into use is working well.

Under the Houses into Homes scheme, owners of properties which have been empty for more than six months can apply for interest-free loans of up to £25,000 so people can live in them.

He said £3m of the £10m of new capital funding made available to local authorities had been used, and councils have said they expect to use all of the money by the end of March.

Mr Lewis said that since this assembly term began in 2011 two thousand empty homes had been brought back into use, and the target of five thousand by 2016 was "well within our reach".

The Houses into Homes initiative, he said, was helping to achieve that target.

The minister highlighted Pembrokeshire Council as the only authority not taking advantage of the scheme.

The council had "no discernable activity" in relation to the scheme and Mr Lewis encouraged "our colleagues in Pembrokeshire" to get involved and become "active partners".

Mr Lewis accused the UK Government of "depressing the economy", "slashing housing benefit" and imposing spending cuts on the Welsh Government and said these actions were the "primary obstruction to bringing more properties into use".

Read this in Welsh.


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