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17 March 2015

Welsh housing contingent to fly the flag in Westminster

A fifty strong Welsh contingent is travelling to London today to discuss with Welsh MPs how the decisions they make in Westminster are impacting the housing sector in Wales.

The group, made up of 23 organisations from across Wales, will also attend the ‘Homes for Britain’ rally, a 2,500 strong rally in the heart of Westminster calling on the incoming Government to end the housing crisis within a generation.

Stuart Ropke, Group Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru said: “Housing is devolved to Wales, but we want to ensure that Welsh MPs are involved in discussions and playing their part to end the housing crisis in Wales.

“Our message to them is simple: the housing sector in Wales is building sustainable communities, providing jobs and opportunities for tenants and stimulating the economy. But some decisions being made in Westminster are having real implications on our members’ ability to build more homes and invest in communities.

Helen Northmore, Director of CIH Cymru, added:

“Welfare reform is having a big impact in Wales and it is exacerbating the housing crisis here. The spare room subsidy or ‘bedroom tax’ is causing misery right across Wales. Rent arrears across the sector increased by more than £5m in the first six months of the policy being introduced with over half of social housing tenants seeing an increase in their levels of personal debt.”

“We also want Welsh tenants to have the same choice as tenants in Scotland and Northern Ireland under Universal Credit. Currently the majority of tenants choose to have their housing benefit paid straight to their landlord but, under Universal Credit, they will no longer have this choice.

“Both of these policies pose a very real threat to tenants’ financial wellbeing and have implications for our members and their capacity to build more homes and invest in communities.”

Stuart added: “We are also calling on the incoming Government to ensure that Wales receives a fair funding deal from Westminster. As Wales is the poorest nation in the UK where GDP remains lower than anywhere else and has an older population, it needs its fair share of public funding.”

“We look forward to discussing this with Welsh MPs and supporting housing colleagues from across the UK to call on all political parties to end the housing crisis within a generation.”