Thursday, 29 March 2012 13:42



SHADOW Minister for Communities and Housing, Mark Isherwood, has called on the Welsh Government to give power to communities.


Speaking in this afternoon’s Welsh Conservative Debate on Communities,?Mr Isherwood said Welsh Government policy has empowered itself rather than local communities and stressed that taking power out of the hands of Government and giving?it to individuals, enterprises and charities in our communities can help provide better services more efficiently, benefiting the most vulnerable.



Mr Isherwood criticised the Welsh Government for rejecting calls by the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) for real community ownership in the future of Communities First?and for failing to engage with?the Wales Participatory Budgeting Unit??-?and called on Ministers to recognise that linking regeneration to housing development can contribute significantly to the economic recovery of communities.


He said: "In the 2008 document? ‘Communities in Control, Real People, Real Power’, the UK Labour Government aspired to enhance the power of communities and help people to set and meet their own priorities, thereby strengthening local democracy by increasing local participation. As a process of real community engagement, participatory budgeting is perhaps the most effective community empowerment process yet devised.

"The Wales Participatory Budgeting Unit is already having great success as a Social Enterprise which directly involves local people in making decisions on spending priorities. However, it is still struggling to engage with the Welsh Government."


Mr Isherwood added: "The?2007?UK Sustainable Communities Act began from the principle that local people know best what needs to be done to promote the sustainability of their area – but the Welsh Government refused to implement it in Wales.


"Community Housing Cymru’s Local Government Election Manifesto – ‘Are you serious about sustainable Communities?’ ?launched yesterday states that ‘linking regeneration to housing development can contribute significantly to the economic recovery of communities’ but Wales has suffered over a decade of housing cuts?- and whilst new home registration rose in England and Scotland last year, they fell another 17% in Wales.

"Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru has estimated that Council Housing Stock Transfers invest approximately 5 times more money into tenants homes than if ownership remains in Local Authority hands, delivering local accountability and control, creating local jobs and training opportunities and supporting local businesses. But after a campaign of misinformation by the Flintshire Labour Party, Flintshire’s Council Tenants have voted against transfer."


He added: "All too often, under Welsh Labour Government, money has washed over a community rather than watering its roots.

Wales needs realignment - a new era of local determinism - using individual and social entrepreneurship to ascend the global ladder."



Promoted by Mark Isherwood AM at National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

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