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Draft Budget boost for housing

Welsh Government says it is allocating an extra £175m of capital funding for housing in 2020/21, taking the total invested over this Assembly term to £2bn.

The total in the Draft Budget announced on Monday is made up of grant, earmarked funds and loan made via financial transactions and means investment next year will be £400m. Ministers say they are on track to meet the target of 20,000 new affordable homes in this Assembly term.

The table below shows the breakdown of the funding:

Of this, the top four elements totalling £65m appear to be grant funding whole the bottom four totalling £113.4m are loans or financial transactions.

The total amount of grants and loans for social housing (excluding Help to Buy and Town Centre Loans) appears to be £133.4m.

The £50m in Housing Loans is aimed at assisting housing associations both with funding new social housing an helping to start decarbonisation of existing homes.

However, there is also some grant funding for housing in the decarbonisation capital Budget (£25m for the Innovative Housing Programme plus £8.2m for a carbon neutral house project within Coleg Y Cymoedd) .

Welsh Government also says an additional £15m in unhypothecated capital funding for local government, taking the total to £197m, will enable councils to invest in increasing the supply of housing and reducing pressure on budgets and homelessness services.

Finance minister Rebecca Evans hailed the announcement as ‘a budget for the NHS and the future of the planet’.

Housing and local government minister Julie James said councils would receive a 4.3% increase in funding. Within that, Welsh Government is again providing £244m for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for low-income households.

Analysis by Community Housing Cymru (CHC)) estimates that funding for Social Housing Grant will rise from £188.2m in the 2019/20 Supplementary Budget to £223.2m in 2020/21 – an increase of 19%.

Regeneration capital funding will rise by 81% from £28.6m to £51.8m.

Stuart Ropke, chief executive of CHC, said:

‘The Welsh Government has rightly prioritised solving the housing crisis in Wales and today’s announcement of an additional £133m for social housing is a huge boost to our work to build the genuinely affordable homes that Wales desperately needs.’

Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Cymru director Matt Dicks said:

‘Housing is rightly one of the eight priority areas that has shaped the considerations of this budget. Housing is cross-cutting and closely linked with other budget priorities such as reducing poverty and decarbonisation but also early years and employment. Its importance cannot be underplayed. The additional £48m Social Housing Grant investment in delivering the 20,000 affordable housing target is a vital boost as we near the point toward achieving the target.’

However, he said further investment in the decarbonisation of existing homes had to become a central feature of future budget considerations.

Katie Dalton, director of Cymorth Cymru, welcomed the increase in funding for social housing but said it was disappointing that Welsh Government had not increased the Housing Support Grant for 2020/21:

‘Homelessness and housing support services are at a tipping point and we urge the Welsh Government to rethink its allocation and increase the Housing Support Grant in its final budget in February.’

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