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Welsh Budget criticised over housing allocation

A cross party group for housing has called on the Welsh Government to re-think its proposed ‘budget for hard times’. Among other things, the group, of which property professional association Propertymark is a member, has called for more help for the private rented sector to decarbonise homes.

Also, finance minister Rebecca Evans needs to recognise that the Housing Support Grant needs to be increased to meet the impact of inflation and pressure on the homelessness system, said the group.

Unprecedented pressures are being felt by local authority homelessness services and freezing funding for the HSG will put even further pressure on local authorities, third-sector providers and all providers of housing including landlords and their agents.

‘As a group, we wanted to raise our collective political and professional concerns about whether the draft budget is focusing on the right things in order to provide for the most vulnerable people in our current housing emergency’, said the group’s letter.

‘Does the Minister recognise that HSG needs to be increased in order to meet the impact of inflation and growing pressures on the homelessness system’, it asked?

‘How are homelessness and housing support service providers supposed to continue delivering services when the cost of delivery has increased so much?

‘How are services supposed to prevent frontline staff being pushed into poverty by increasing wages if there is no uplift in the HSG?

‘Given widespread concerns raised in the recent consultation on Welsh Housing Quality Standards 2023, what is the Welsh Government’s intended way forward in terms of funding? Meeting the standard and ambitious expectations to decarbonise the social housing stock cannot be achieved with the funding that is currently being allocated?

‘Is it right for the decarbonisation agenda to be focused so much on social housing? We need to be sensitive to the needs of social tenants, ensuring that they are not just a testing place for new technologies and that there is time to learn and collaborate. There is also need to consider how decarbonisation can be delivered and financed across the private sector’.