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The cost of living crisis is the main theme of the Autumn issue of WHQ, which will be published this week.

Rising prices for everything from food and petrol to gas and electricity mean a bleak winter is looming in Wales and across the rest of the UK.

The fact that housing organisations are feeling the need to step in to support their own staff as well as their tenants and the wider community says much about how bad things have already got.

On the Westminster stage, this issue of WHQ went to press in the wake of the resignation of the prime minister after 44 days, with Rishi Sunak about to take over and with the prospect of another round of austerity looming.

We kick off with an interview with climate change minister Julie James. What does she make of what’s happening at Westminster? What more can the Welsh Government do? And what is she thinking on the crucial subject of rents?

She outlines her thinking on the decision looming on rents for social housing in Wales, revealing the many different elements that will contribute to a final decision.

And, while not ruling it out if it is seen to work, she expresses her doubts about the following the Scottish Government’s example and imposing a rent freeze across the private and social rented sectors

Accompanying that, we have perspectives from across the housing sector and beyond. Victoria Winckler from the Bevan Foundation puts the current crisis into the context of a decade of cuts to the social security safety net and argues that they have combined to guarantee near destitution for benefit recipients.

Ben Saltmarsh of National Energy Action Cymru outlines the specific support available for energy costs and argues that action is needed across the board, including work to improve the energy efficiency of a housing stock that is among the oldest and draughtiest in Europe.

Jennie Bibbings of Shelter Cymru explains why it’s vital to tackle the cost of housing crisis too if we are to avoid a surge in evictions and homelessness.

Cost of living pressures are already being felt across communities in Wales and, significantly, there are affecting housing staff as well as tenants.

Katie Dalton of Cymorth reveals alarming evidence about the impact of the crisis on frontline workers from a survey that shows some are skipping meals, wearing damp clothes and taking second jobs  and a few are taking desperate steps.

We also have reports from Laura Courtney of Community Housing Cymru and Gareth Leech of Cartrefi Conwy on what housing associations are doing to help tenants and staff around Wales and from Karen Thomas of United Welsh on how the crisis is stretching money advice work in new directions.

Elsewhere in this issue we feature research for the Back the Bill campaign on the benefits and savings that introducing a right to adequate housing could generate in Wales. These are findings that would be striking at any time but deserve even more attention with another round of austerity looming.

Joy Kent considers the future of work in the wake of the pandemic and talks to housing organisations about how they are responding.

And Shan Lloyd Williams reports on the new Welsh Communities Commission and what it is doing to create a shift in favour of the Welsh language.

We hope that all that, plus all our regular updates, make for an interesting Autumn issue of WHQ.

The magazine will be published on our website in the next few days with three different formats to choose from: individual articles, a PDF of the whole magazine and an animated PDF that will work on computers, tablets and phones.

Some articles will be free to success but most are reserved for the subscribers who help to ensure a continuing voice for Welsh housing. Subscribers can access all of above plus an archive of previous issues. To find out more about subscribing, go here.


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