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05 August 2015


Today (5 August), Community Housing Cymru (CHC), the representative body for housing associations in Wales, will create a home for debate at the National Eisteddfod. Four leading Welsh politicians will take part and discuss the topic: ‘Housing is central to economic and social wellbeing.’

The debate will be centred on the role of housing associations, but CHC wants to broaden the debate beyond social housing.

Sioned Hughes, Director of Policy and External Affairs explains: “The shortage of affordable housing is not just a social housing issue. Many people aspire to home ownership, but this isn’t always an option for many. We need to ensure that housing policy provides a range of options for people at various stages of their lives.

“In 2013, more than a quarter of Welsh 20-34 year olds lived with their parents[1]. Also, in the UK, home-ownership among those aged 25-34 has fallen by a third in the last decade[2]. In 2004, 675,500 people in the UK aged 25-34 were private tenants and this rose to £1.6m in 2014[3]. In many cases, affordability is the issue.”

“Many homeowners may think they are unaffected by housing issues, but what about housing issues for their children and grandchildren? What about housing issues as they grow older and their homes may be unsuitable? We want to have the debate so that attendees at the Eisteddfod realise that the shortage of affordable housing has the potential to affect everyone in Wales.”

CHC firmly believes that housing policy is central to the economy and that housing should be seen as a key economic driver.

Sioned added: “Investing in housing is about much more than bricks and mortar. Last year our sector contributed £1027m into the economy, with 80 per cent of this spend retained in Wales. Since 2008, Welsh housing associations have generated a combined spend of £5.66bn and spent just under £3bn on regeneration projects. Investing in housing creates jobs; the sector directly employed 8,400 full time equivalent people last year. This is a significant rise from the 2008 figure of 3,300 people and for every one full time person employed with the sector, a further one and half jobs are supported with the Welsh economy”.[4]

Panel members include Lesley Griffiths AM, Welsh Government Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, Mark Isherwood AM (Welsh Conservatives), Aled Roberts AM (Welsh Liberal Democrats)and Simon Thomas AM (Plaid Cymru).

Sioned concluded: “We look forward to hearing our panellists’ views about how housing policy is key to economic and social wellbeing and their thoughts on the role our sector can play to build a stronger Wales.”

[1] ONS, Welsh Figure:27% http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/family-demography/young-adults-living-with-parents/2013/info-young-adults.html
[2] Shelter http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/22/housing-crisis-halve-young-homeowners
[3] Shelter http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/22/housing-crisis-halve-young-homeowners
[4] WERU (Welsh Economy Research Unit) {filedir_7}Measuring_the_Economic_Impact_of_Welsh_Housing_Associations.pdf