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Welsh Tenants Federation sponsorship feature

Reflections on housing over the prior electoral term

When we look back over the electoral term and in particular the One Wales agreement outcome for housing, it has been dominated by the Deputy Minster for Housing and Regeneration Jocelyn Davies AM’s hugely influential Essex review report. This, coupled with the early commitments outlined in the One Wales agreement relating to social justice and the drive for sustainability, set out the key challenges for the administration over the term.

In relation to its success, we have seen the affordable housing target claimed as being achieved and a radical change in the way regulation has been considered and delivered. Tenants whom with their landlords have opted to ballot for transfer, have continued to support the approach to bring in additional investment, while landlords with their tenants that have considered and rejected the choice have also been equally busy and innovative, finding new ways to utilise their resources to deliver on better housing quality standards. There have also been significant changes in legislation through, for example, the option to suspend the right to buy in areas of pressure which may have longer term positive impacts.

While the recession has undoubtedly impacted on the ambitions of housing providers and government alike, with a prolonged and some say unnecessary squeeze on borrowing, the term has been characterised by a significant change in the way in which the government as enabler, the sector as provider and tenants as consumers do business together.

So what are the challenges ahead?

Whoever succeeds to lead our nation over the next few months, housing delivery has some huge social inequalities to overcome, not least issues of supply and affordability, equality of tenure and indeed whether we can continue to provide a social housing system that continues to ensure supply for the low paid and disadvantaged of our society without significant enabling intervention from government. Within these parameters the private sector, which is quickly becoming the default social housing sector for the low paid and unemployed, also needs substantial reform if we are to continue to ensure that standards and costs of living are not eroded further, creating a second wave poverty trap which will be harder to target.

While the One Wales programme has achieved some success despite the recession, the role of the charitable sector will play an increasingly important role in future, while citizens generally under the ‘Big Society’ banner (tenants among them) will have to do more to meet their own future support needs. Whatever the make-up of the next administration, we urge tenants to join our ‘Make the difference – shape the change’ agenda and support us to support you to map out what’s required of our leaders, enablers and providers.

Destination Unknown Conference

14-15 September 2011

This conference asks the question – What is happening to our social housing? and where is it destined?

With robust debates planned on:

  • Equality in Tenure
  • Rent setting reforms
  • Tenant Power: Have you got it? What does it mean to you?

The focus of the event will be to create an understanding of what is happening now and what may be happening in the future to social housing in Wales, to take forward tenant-led recommendations to our Make the Difference –Shape the Change initiative, so that we can influence the policy movers and shakers!

Invited speakers include:

The Housing & Regeneration Minister, Head of Regulation in Wales and key motivational speakers and facilitators.

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