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Issue 127: Autumn 2022

Winter is coming

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.

One in eight households say they are already struggling to afford everyday items and another third say they have enough money for basics but not much else. The fact that housing organisations feel 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 UK-wide political stage, this issue of WHQ goes to press in the wake of the resignation of the prime minister after 44 days, with Rishi Sunak about to take over with the prospect of another round of austerity looming.

This issue of WHQ inevitably takes the cost of living crisis as its theme and 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?

We have perspectives from across the housing sector and beyond. Victoria Winckler 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 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.

Katie Dalton reveals alarming evidence about the impact of the crisis on frontline workers while Jennie Bibbings explains why we need to tackle the cost of housing crisis too.

We also have reports from Laura Courtney and Gareth Leech on what housing associations are doing to help tenants and staff around Wales and from Karen Thomas 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.

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.

All that, plus all our regular updates, feature in this Autumn issue of WHQ.

Jules Birch, editor, WHQ


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