Huw Lewis tells Progress it’s time to scrap feudal housing laws


Writing in this month’s edition of Progress magazine, and also available online, Labour & Co-operative Member of the Welsh Assembly Huw Lewis outlines his support for the campaign for Co-operative Housing Tenure – HomeShares.

As the Welsh government’s minister for housing, regeneration and heritage, Huw is bringing forward plans to revolutionise the provision of co-operative housing in Wales.

Huw argues:

It may seem arcane, but [housing tenure law] is in fact the key reason why the cooperative housing sector in this country is so underdeveloped. In Sweden, which has had a distinct cooperative housing tenure since 1920, 18 per cent of homes are provided by cooperatives; in the UK, the figure is just 0.6 per cent.

The cooperative housing bill, valiantly brought before parliament this autumn by Jonathan Reynolds MP and which returns for a second reading in January, seeks to address this anomaly. With the new legislative powers now afforded to Wales, it is an agenda I am determined to take forward here.

In isolation, establishing a legally separate cooperative housing tenure will not foster the cooperative housing revolution I want to see in Wales over the next few years, but it would be a long-overdue modernisation of the rights of housing consumers that would see Wales leading the way, and making it far easier for new cooperative housing models to gain a foothold.

It is particularly pleasing to see Huw’s sign-off – a reminder of the new strength and sense of mission of co-operators in the Welsh Assembly:

In May, nine Labour and Cooperative assembly members were elected to the Welsh assembly, including two cabinet ministers. The cooperative movement has never been better represented at the heart of decision-making. We have a cooperative moment here in Wales and I am determined to capitalise on that.

We will be holding events in London and in Manchester later this month with panels including Jonathan Reynolds MP, Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromey MP and London Assembly Member Nicky Gavron, among others. Details here and here.