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What does the draft budget mean for housing?

Welsh Government has protected funding for Supporting People and homelessness prevention in its draft budget for next year.

More good news came with a boost for the affordable housing budget, with a capital allocation of £1.36bn over the next four years. It’s not yet clear what is included in this.

However, the regeneration capital budget appears to have been cut by 79% from £83.5m in 2016/17 to just £17.5m in the draft plan for 2017/18 with more cuts to come in the next three years.

That is part of a shift in priorities in the overall capital budget for homes and places, which will fall from £342.1m this year to £312.6m in 2017/18. This also includes the following sub-budgets:

  • Achieve quality housing: cut from £153.5m this year to £108m in 2017/18
  • Increase the supply and choice of affordable housing: increased from £78.8m to £83.7m next year but set to be cut in the next two years to just £25.7m in 2019/20
  • Increase the supply and choice of market housing: increased from £26.3m to £103.3m next year but set to fall to £34.7m by 2020/21.

The Supporting People budget was the focus of a campaign led by Community Housing Cymru and Cymorth Cymru following a £10m cut two years ago. The draft budget shows that funding has been maintained at £124.5m for next year.

Auriol Miller, director of Cymorth Cymru, said:

‘We are delighted that the Supporting People Programme has been protected. On behalf of our members and the people supported by these services, we are grateful to the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru for delivering on their commitment to protect this Programme and ensure that we can continue to support vulnerable groups in Wales.’

Auriol and Katie Dalton, the incoming interim director of Cymorth, have blogged more about the draft budget and Supporting People here.

Stuart Ropke, chief executive of CHC said:

‘We are delighted that Welsh Government has listened to us and Cymorth Cymru. Tens of the thousands of vulnerable people around Wales will continue to have the protection of the lifesaving Supporting People Programme. Many of these vital schemes are run by Welsh housing associations or in partnership with them and it shows that Welsh Government values the work our sector is doing.’

Other elements of the housing policy resource budget also saw their funding maintained: homelessness prevention at £5.9m and independent living at £5.2m. However, no allocations were detailed beyond next year.

In terms of capital spending, Welsh Government pledged ‘£1.36bn towards the delivery of our commitment for 20,000 affordable homes’. This includes 6,000 to be delivered via Help to Buy.

The draft budget says:

‘Over the lifetime of this government, we will work in partnership to deliver an extra 20,000 affordable homes. Investing public money in building and refurbishing homes will contribute to national and local economies, creating and supporting jobs and training opportunities. House building creates thousands of apprenticeships every year, provides wider regeneration in deprived areas and delivers benefits for and can transform whole communities. We have allocated more than £1.3bn over the term of this government in support of our housing priorities, of which £389m will be earmarked in reserves to support this commitment as plans are further developed.’

Clarissa Corbisiero-Peters, deputy chief executive of CHC, said the funding was ‘an important first step to support us to construct the homes we need over the next year’ but that a firm commitment was needed on the details to ensure sufficient funding to deliver against the target over the Assembly term.

She went on:

‘We are very concerned about the large cut to the Regeneration budget line and are seeking urgent clarification about this from Welsh Government.’

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