Housing is so much more than bricks and mortar. A decent home means having somewhere to feel safe and secure, somewhere warm and dry that improves health rather than compromising it, an environment where children can focus on learning to help them get on in life. Somewhere that enhances lives rather than simply accommodating them.
I am deeply committed to making this a reality for everybody. We have already committed to providing a total of 20,000 additional affordable homes during this term of government. To help us do this, I signed the Housing Supply Delivery pact with CHC and WLGA in December to commit to working together and, with your help, I know we can achieve this ambitious target.
Earlier this month I announced a new £20m fund to deliver innovative models of housing to help address the challenge of delivering homes quickly without compromising quality. These homes, while contributing to our target, will also help to inform us about the type of homes we should support in the future. We need homes that will meet future challenges – an ageing population, increased pressures on health and social care, our changing climate, increasing fuel poverty and the need to meet carbon reduction targets.
New homes alone, however, will not be enough. We also need to protect the homes we build and those we already have for future generations so I will be introducing a Bill to abolish the Right to Buy next month.
Right to Buy has cost Wales 45% of its social housing stock. We are still seeing social rented properties being taken out of our housing stock, which is forcing many vulnerable people to wait longer for a home. Decisive action is needed to make sure social housing is available for those who need it most. We need to make sure that you, as providers of social rented homes, have the confidence to build new homes and to ensure the existing stock is safe, warm and energy efficient, knowing that investment will be protected.
We have laid the foundations to achieve our targets and this could not have been done without a strong partnership approach between the Welsh Government, Local Authorities, Housing Associations and other Third Sector organisations. I have always been impressed by the strength of joint working in the housing sector. I want to maintain this and develop it further to ensure that everybody in Wales has a decent place to call home.