A significant £108 million investment in Wales’ social housing stock has today been announced by Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths.
The funding will be used by local authorities and Registered Social Landlords to improve people’s homes and ensure they are safe, secure and meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS).
The quality of social housing in Wales continues to rise, with 67% of all social housing (149,755 homes) meeting the quality standard set by the Welsh Government, which is an increase of 7 percentage points on the previous year.
As well as improving social housing, the capital grant creates jobs and training opportunities across Wales. Social landlords have procured £112 million worth of housing contracts, 82% of which have been re-invested in Wales. £38 million has gone directly on salaries for people in Wales and £53 million has been spent on goods and services from Wales-based businesses.
Today’s announcement further demonstrates the Welsh Government’s focus on protecting and improving Wales’ social housing stock. Earlier this year, the Minister announced her intention to end Right to Buy in Wales, subject to a consultation which recently concluded.
Taking steps to end Right to Buy will put a stop to further depletion of Wales’ housing stock, which has suffered from a 45% reduction in properties available since the policy was introduced.
Lesley Griffiths said: “We want everyone in Wales to have the opportunity to live in a good quality home within a safe and secure community.
“Investment in people’s homes has a far reaching impact – it is vital in improving the nation’s health and creating jobs and training opportunities.
“This is why we are taking decisive action to protect and improve Wales’ social housing stock. In addition to this significant £108 million investment and our proposal to end Right to Buy in Wales, we are also investing over £400 million in affordable homes through our Social Housing Grant programme during this Government term.”
The Welsh Tenants welcomes the funding announcement that comes quickly following the deal on self-financing arrangements for local authorities who have retained their stock. Steve Clarke, managing director discussing the announcement said.
“Investment in housing has proven to be beneficial for the local, regional and national economy of Wales, producing much needed well paid jobs and supporting local companies to thrive. We welcome the priority to improve the existing stock which will have a positive effect on reducing home hazards, improving energy efficiency and the well-being of its residents.
“But Wales also needs significant levels of rented stock to meet the demands of an aging population and to ensure that below market rented homes continue to be available for those who can’t afford private landlord rents or buy their own home.
“There does appear to be a widening dichotomy between the housing administration in Wales and in England. On the one side of the country we have a government determined to undermine the role social landlords play in the economy and on the other hand one that values its contribution”.