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Welsh Government sets out Budget commitments for housing

New social housing, decarbonisation and a second phase of the Building Safety Fund all feature in Welsh Government’s three-year Draft Budget published on Monday.

The plans announced by finance minister Rebecca Evans set out spending plans for 2022/23 and indicative spending plans for 2023/24 and 2024/25.

Key headline measures for housing and regeneration (quotes come from the Budget narrative) include:

  • £1bn capital for social housing up to 2024/25 to support Welsh Government’s commitment to 20,000 low carbon social homes for rent
  • £580m capital for decarbonisation of social housing up to 2024/25. ‘This includes funding of our flagship Optimised Retrofit Programme, designed to improve the energy efficiency of our existing social housing stock.’
  • £375m capital for building safety up to 2024/25 plus £6.5m revenue. ‘This funding will enable long term investment in remediation of blocks of flats through a second phase of the Welsh Building Safety Fund, alongside supporting delivery of the Building Safety Passport Scheme, establishment of the Joint Inspection Team and supporting work on long term reform and remediation.’
  • £100m up to 2024/25 for Warm Homes Nest + successor schemes
  • £60m for market housing to address housing needs and boost housebuilding plus £8.5m for Homebuy to support equity home ownership
  • £27.5m revenue support up to 2024/25 to boost investment in homelessness prevention and housing support across ‘his includes work to meet our objective to fundamentally reform homelessness services to focus on prevention and rapid rehousing.
  • £3.5m to lease private rented sector properties for local authorities to discharge their homelessness duties.
  • An additional £3m revenue and a total £100m capital up to 2024-25 ‘to support the sustainable growth of towns and cities and their transformation into places of living, working, learning and leisure’.
  • £1m revenue for Unnos, the national construction company to support councils and social landlords that is part of the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru.

Rebecca Evans said the Draft Budget came against the background of a UK government spending review that ‘did not deliver for Wales and this Budget is delivered un that context’:

‘While there are tough choices ahead, we have been able to provide funding that will allow Wales to rise to the challenges we face, grounded in the distinctively Welsh values of environmental, social and economic justice.’

Matt Dicks, national director at CIH Cymru, said: ‘This budget places us in no doubt over the priority this government gives to the support of high quality social and affordable housing. We know that the 20,000 low carbon social housing target, combined with improving the quality of existing homes and addressing building safety concerns is a tall task in any climate.

‘But in order to deliver on that ambition, CIH Cymru has consistently made the case for the Welsh Government to provide guarantees over longer-term funding so that our members, and the organisations they work for, can deliver at the pace and scale needed. Today, we see that commitment and welcome the Government’s ambition to create a greener more sustainable future where many more of us have a safe, affordable and sustainable place to call homes.

‘But at a time of great uncertainty, with the ongoing mitigation of the COVID-19 pandemic, a general shortage of building supplies, a cost of living crisis severely impacting many households we must view today’s commitment as the starting point.

‘Lastly, as we embark on a period where we have a real opportunity to incorporate a right to adequate housing into Welsh law, we look forward to sharing the findings of a comprehensive cost benefit analysis in the summer of 2022 – which we hope will further cement an understanding of what a rights-based approach to housing could achieve for both citizens in Wales and the pressures and demands on other equally vital public services, such as the NHS.’

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