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18 October 2016

CHC respond to Welsh Government Draft Budget

A mixed budget for housing – the devil will be in the detail.

A lifesaving scheme which protects people in Wales threatened with homelessness has itself been saved from cuts in the draft Welsh budget. Community Housing Cymru (CHC) and homelessness charity Cymorth Cymru successfully campaigned for the Supporting People Programme to keep its current funding for another year. Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive of CHC said: “We are delighted that Welsh Government has listened to us and Cymorth Cymru. Tens of the thousands of vulnerable people around Wales will continue to have the protection of the lifesaving Supporting People Programme. Many of these vital schemes are run by Welsh housing associations or in partnership with them and it shows that Welsh Government values the work our sector is doing.”

The Supporting People (SP) Programme was set up in 2004 and has helped around three quarters of a million people in Wales. These include victims of domestic abuse, people with mental or physical health problems, learning disabilities, ex-service personnel and older people. CHC and Cymorth Cymru launched the Let’s Keep on Supporting People campaign after funding was cut by £10m, two years ago.

There was further good news for the social housing sector. The delivery of Welsh Government’s 20,000 affordable homes received a boost with a £1.36bn Capital allocation over the next four years. However real concerns have been raised about the Regeneration budget which appears to have received a 79% cut overall.

Reacting to the announcement about Capital funding and Regeneration, Clarissa Corbisiero-Peters, Deputy Chief Executive at CHC said: “Ministers responded to our plea to tackle the ever worsening housing crisis by setting an ambitious affordable housing target of 20,000 homes for this term of government.

“We stand ready to support Welsh Government to build the homes we need in Wales. This funding is an important first step to support us to construct the homes we need over the next year. Housing associations have a strong track record and are prepared to invest and will invest their own expertise and resources alongside this funding to meet the ambitious target.

“We now need a firm commitment from Welsh Government on the details of today’s draft budget to ensure that sufficient Capital funding to deliver against this target will be available over the assembly period.

However there are reservations about funding for regeneration. Clarissa Corbisiero-Peters added: “We are very concerned about the large cut to the Regeneration budget line and are seeking urgent clarification about this from Welsh Government."