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									          WRITTEN STATEMENT BY THE

Title:       Grants for First Time Buyers in Renewal Areas Pilot Scheme
             and Half Way Mark to Achieving 6,500 Affordable Homes

Date:        1 July 2009

By:          Jocelyn Davies, the Deputy Minister for Housing

I am pleased to be able to announce today that at the second anniversary of
the One Wales commitment we are on target to deliver 6,500 extra affordable
homes over the term of this Government.

Welsh Assembly Government can clearly demonstrate its continued support
for the effective development of social housing helping to address housing
need across Wales

Early figures suggest the number of homes, delivered by housing associations
over the last two years, is 3,252. This is based on independent figures
provided by the Welsh Economic Research Unit (WERU).

In 2007-08, 1,533 affordable homes were provided according to the Welsh
Economic Research Unit (WERU). Preliminary figures from WERU suggest a
further 1,700 were provided in 2008-09, though these figures have not been
finalised and may be subject to change. The Welsh Assembly Government’s
affordable housing data collection introduced in April this year will provide a
precise and detailed breakdown of additional affordable housing provision
across Wales which will be available in the autumn of 2009.

This is a particularly good achievement given the current economic conditions
and shows not only a commitment from the Government to meet pre-agreed
targets by putting more financial commitment behind housing but a clear
achievement from Housing Associations to committing their own resources at
a time when borrowing is both more expensive and difficult to obtain.

I am also pleased to announce today an extension of the First Time Buyers in
Renewal Areas Pilot Scheme.

As Members will know the provision of grants for first time buyers is also a
‘One Wales’ commitment. A pilot scheme was introduced in 2008-09 which
targeted grants for improvements in energy efficiency to first time buyers in
housing renewal areas in those local authority areas where the income to
house price ratio was above the national average in Wales.

Renewal Areas were chosen as targeted areas as they have been very
successful in Wales, since their inception in the early 1990s, in securing
sustainable housing regeneration. Investment in area-based renewal
schemes not only secure improvements to the houses themselves but also
have beneficial socio-economic and environmental effects which lead to a
restoration of confidence in the area.

The first year of the pilot scheme (2008-09) received £500,000 Assembly
Government funding which was allocated to 9 qualifying local authorities.
These were: Cardiff; Ceredigion; Conwy; Denbighshire; Gwynedd;
Pembrokeshire; Powys; Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham.

For the second year of the pilot (2009-2010) the scheme has been extended
to all renewal areas in Wales and a further £500,000 is being allocated to 10
local authorities.     The authorities are: Bridgend; Cardiff; Caerphilly;
Carmarthenshire; Merthyr Tydfil; Neath Port Talbot; Rhondda Cynon Taff;
Swansea; Torfaen; Wrexham

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