We respond to the Welsh Government statement on the Independent Review of Affordable Housing Supply

09/07/2019

In a response to the Independent Review of Affordable Housing Supply, Julie James AM the Housing and Local Government Minister has said that she accepts all but one of the recommendations set out in the Review. She has also written to planning authorities across Wales to emphasise that local development plans must support sites made up of at least 50% affordable housing.

Her response includes:

  • The five year rent policy will be announced before the summer Assembly recess;
  • A new approach to grant funding for housing associations and local authorities is needed and the Welsh Government will work with local authorities and housing associations to develop this;
  • Ambitious local authorities will be able to access housing grant to build more council houses at pace and scale;
  • The Welsh Government is considering establishing a body to support how best to use of public sector land to create more housing;
  • All housing irrespective of tenure must have the same quality standards such as space and energy efficiency; and
  • The housing sector will be consulted on a new strategy to expand the use of off-site manufacturing and modern methods of construction to deliver near zero-carbon homes.

Julie James said: “I am clear that our significant investment in affordable housing must be used as effectively as possible, where it is needed most. This is why I am taking action based on the review recommendations. 

“I am also writing to all local authorities to ensure they are taking all opportunities to create housing developments with at least 50% affordable housing in Wales. With the removal of the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap, and support from Welsh Government to build affordable housing, I want them to ensure this is a key part of reviewing their Local Development Plans.”

Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive at Community Housing Cymru said:

"The Minister's intention to ensure a large number of all homes built in Wales are affordable is hugely ambitious, and housing associations are up for that challenge. We want to see a Wales where good housing is a basic right for all and that means working together in new ways to tackle the housing crisis.

Housing associations have always put affordability at the heart of their rent setting, and we are pleased to see the Minister focus on this in today’s response. Welsh Government now has a real opportunity to support genuine, robust and meaningful decision making between landlord and tenant, by providing a long term, sustainable rent settlement this Summer.

We look forward to working with Welsh Government, local authorities and other stakeholders to deliver on the recommendations. With continued investment from Welsh Government, we will look at new ways to innovate with key partners, to ensure we deliver more homes, which are genuinely affordable and fit for the future."