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Editorial – Tackling poverty

In an era of austerity, benefit cuts and rising housing costs, the links between housing and poverty are hard to avoid. In Wales they are now both part of the portfolio of communities and tackling poverty minister Lesley Griffiths.

A special feature in this issue of WHQ focuses on policy and practice and on solutions as well as problems. It starts with contributions from the two people best placed to give an overview: Julia Unwin of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) outlines housing’s key role in tackling poverty; while Victoria Winckler of the Bevan Foundation argues that the changing nature of poverty means that efforts to reduce it must take housing into account.

A broad focus includes evidence emerging from JRF’s housing and poverty research programme, the grassroots campaign against the bedroom tax and some great Welsh projects on financial inclusion, employment and training, building livelihoods and looking beyond food banks. But Shelter Cymru presents some disturbing evidence of people being turned down for a social tenancy on the basis that they cannot afford it.

Elsewhere in this issue, Keith Edwards argues that austerity means we need Welsh solutions to public service challenges and new models of delivery and that local authorities and housing associations have a shared agenda.

Alicja Zalesinska of Tai Pawb reports on the implications of the Westminster Government’s Immigration Bill and argues for a Welsh response to provisions aimed at creating a ‘hostile environment’ for illegal migrants.

Much better news for Welsh housing arrived in April in the shape of self-financing for council housing. A deal negotiated between the UK Treasury and Welsh Government means that local authorities with retained stock finally exited the Housing Revenue Account Subsidy system and stopped sending negative subsidy

back across the border. Our feature looks at the deal and at the steps being taken in three councils with plans to build new council homes.

We also have a feature on ‘Let’s keep on Supporting People’, the campaign launched by Cymorth Cymru and Community Housing Cymru at the Senedd in May to highlight the vital importance of work funded through the programme.

However, this busy Summer issue also tees up a very special occasion for the magazine. The October issue will mark both the 100th issue of WHQ and our 25th birthday. We’ll be aiming to mark the memorable moments and the huge changes in Welsh housing along the way and look to the future too. If you have any memories you want to share, or want to contribute in any way, please email me at [email protected]

Jules Birch

Editor, WHQ 

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