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New edition of WHQ out now

The Spring 2024 issue of WHQ is available now, featuring housing association mergers, the right to adequate housing, the first stock transfer in Wales 20 years on, criminalising homelessness, leasehold reform and much, much more.

Merger mania seems to have broken out in Wales, with at least three other pairs of housing associations set to follow Pobl and Linc Cymru and seal a partnership. These are of course not the first mergers in Wales and they will not be the last but the timing feels significant enough to devote much of the Spring issue of WHQ to looking at the implications for Welsh housing.

Hot on the heels of Pobl and Linc completing a merger they say will be ‘large and local’, we hear from the other six potential merger partners – Newydd and Cadwyn, RHA Wales and Coastal and Melin Homes and Newport City Homes – about the rationale behind their decisions and what they are doing to maintain their focus on their communities and tenants as part of bigger organisations.

Both must surely be essential if Welsh housing is to maintain its distinctive identity and avoid some of the mistakes made in the mega-mergers that have happened in England. David Wilton puts the case for why boards need to put tenants at the heart of decision making, while Duncan Forbes draws out some lessons from experiences across the border. We also hear from Darren Hartley on the potential benefits and pitfalls of merger and from Gemma Bell on the key legal issues to be considered once social landlords have decided to merge.

Elsewhere in this issue, the WHQ interview features Rhys Goode, cabinet member for housing in Bridgend, discussing the challenges facing the council 20 years after the first stock transfer in Wales. He has some interesting views on transfer, on mergers and on why the council needs to revisit whether it should look to become a stock owning authority again.

Ahead of the white paper expected in the summer, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS argues that the right to adequate housing represents ‘a cornerstone for a more just and equitable Wales’ while the parting message from Lindsay Cordery-Bruce as she leaves The Wallich is that it is the key to future progress on homelessness.

We also feature two current pieces of legislation at Westminster with considerable implications for Wales. Matt Downie argues that the Criminal Justice Bill risks recreating some of the worst aspects of the Vagrancy Act, while Mark Tami MP says the Leasehold Reform Bill does not go remotely far enough to fix injustices for leaseholders.

Published the week before TAI, this issue also includes all our regular features, including a new research update from the Senedd, plus news of the latest developments in Northern Ireland and Scotland. WHQ is available in PDF or online edition formats for subscribers only, with a limited selection of articles available to non-subscribers. To find out more about subscribing and how to gain full access, go here.


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