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11 October 2013

CHC calls for new affordable housing target

Community Housing Cymru (CHC), the membership body for housing associations in Wales, is calling on Welsh Government to increase its affordable housing target from 7,500 to 10,000 by 2016.

This is the message from Chief Executive, Nick Bennett at CHC’s Housing Conference today, who believe the sector can reach this target with a sustainable rents regime, better co-regulation for the sector and sustained capital from Welsh Government.

Nick Bennett said: “Even during the economic downturn, our sector has proven it has a track record in delivering. We were set a target of building 7,500 new affordable homes for this term of Government. So far we’ve delivered just under 4,000 - that’s more than 50 per cent of the target in 40 per cent of the time.”

“41 per cent of these homes have been delivered without any social housing grant. This shows that Welsh Government could aspire to a target of over 5,000 on its own, let alone 7,500. By working collaboratively with the sector, we can hit 10,000.”

The social housing sector is leading the way on innovation in order to drive supply of affordable housing including models such as the Welsh Housing Partnership, Ely Mill and more recently the launch of the Welsh Housing Finance Grant which will see an additional 1,000 homes created as a result of turning revenue into capital with the support of £4m a year for 30 years from Welsh Government.

Nick added: “Just this week, Welsh Government pledged to invest £71.8m in affordable homes in 2014/15 – an increase of 16 per cent from the current financial year and an additional £20m for Social Housing Grant (SHG). Investing in housing doesn’t just increase supply - last year our sector directly employed 8,000 people and for every one full time person employed by the sector, two other jobs are supported within the Welsh economy.”

However, for the social housing sector to continue to deliver, CHC is asking Welsh Government for a sustainable rents regime, better co-regulation for the sector and sustained capital investment.

Nick said: “Our sector needs a regulatory environment which is proportionate, risk-based and allows for innovation. This will be essential in ensuring that we meet this new 10,000 target. Wales also needs a sustainable rents regime which is transparent, fair for tenants and allows the sector to maximise opportunities to develop new homes. We have a track record for delivery and, working in collaboration with Welsh Government around regulation and rents - we believe with we can deliver this new target.