Bishop of St Albans asks about potential for government purchase of housing to mitigate low numbers of property sales

The Bishop of St Albans asked whether the government would consider a scheme to purchase property from those seeking to move and having difficulty selling their houses due to safety concerns on 5th January 2022, during a debate on building safety:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, one of the very serious results of this problem is that many people are desperate to move, but simply cannot sell their properties any longer. This is causing huge difficulties for people trying to get jobs in other parts of the country. What assessment have the Government made of the Welsh Government’s proposal to start buying some of the properties that cannot be sold for the moment and turn them into affordable housing and social housing and so on, as a way of trying to break the deadlock?

Lord Greenhalgh (Con, Department for Levelling Up): My Lords, I have always loved a magic bullet, but the reality is that the scale of the cladding and building sector crisis in Wales is a fraction of that in England. That is just a fact: I could give the right reverend Prelate the statistics if he is interested, but we are not going to solve it that way. We need to have a greater sense of proportion. We have made this a bigger scandal than it needs to be because too many buildings have been declared unsafe that are perfectly safe. Frankly, there is an industry profiteering on the back of this, and we need to do something about that. There needs to be a call for innovation to encourage mitigation, more often than not, rather than full-scale costly remediation; we need to make sure that there is an adequate, sensible, proportionate approach to this crisis.


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