Communities and Children Secretary Carl Sargeant today set out how the Welsh Government plans to deliver its ambitious target of an additional 20,000 affordable homes.
Delivering an Oral Statement to the Assembly, the Cabinet Secretary said the £1.3bn allocated over the term of this government to support the delivery of 20,000 affordable homes and complete the task of meeting the Welsh Housing Quality Standard highlighted the government’s ambition in this area.
Plans to achieve the target of an additional 20,000 affordable homes include:
- Continuing to support the construction of social housing for the most vulnerable through tried and tested schemes including the Social Housing Grant (SHG).
- Supporting construction of more than 6,000 homes through the Help to Buy scheme. Phase II of the scheme will see £290 million invested until 2021.
- Developing a more ambitious house building programme which is ambitious in terms of the design, quality, location and energy efficiency of the homes we deliver.
- Supporting a variety of housing tenures in order to respond to a wider range of housing needs.
- Developing a Rent to Own scheme which will support those who aspire to buy their own home but struggle to save a sizeable deposit.
- Promoting a range of routes into home ownership at an affordable cost, especially for first-time buyers in areas where they are often unable to purchase a home due to high local property values.
Carl Sargeant said:
"Building homes delivers important benefits beyond simply putting a roof over people’s heads. Alongside the well-documented health and education benefits that good quality housing provides for children and families, building homes of all tenures has a significant positive impact on the Welsh economy and on our communities.”
The Cabinet Secretary said it was important to retain existing social housing stock and that legislation to abolish the Right to Buy and the Right to Acquire was already underway.
“This will enable us to retain safe, secure and affordable social housing all over Wales and will enable housing associations and councils to invest with confidence in building new homes,” he said.
Carl Sargeant said the Welsh Government would maintain and strengthen strong relationships with housing associations, local authorities and private house builders.
“In the last Assembly, the pact with Community Housing Cymru played a crucial role in the achievement of the target to build 10,000 affordable homes. We are now negotiating a tripartite pact with Community Housing Cymru and the Welsh Local Government Association to support the achievement of the new target. I am very pleased with the progress we have made to date and welcome the WLGA’s involvement.
“This is particularly welcome because local authorities are now starting to consider their own building programmes once again. I will be providing additional funding to support their development activities. We will be working with these Authorities to identify how best we might support their efforts. Taken together we expect them to deliver some 500 homes in this term of government.”
Carl Sargeant added that the Welsh Government would continue to work closely with developers through the House Builder Engagement Programme to ensure Wales remains an attractive place for both large developers and SMEs to build homes. He also stressed the importance of making more land available for development.
"We have already brought forward a number of significant Welsh Government owned sites for housing delivery. We are continuing to explore what more we might do to identify more public sector land suitable for housing.
“Our ambitious housing programme is about providing people with affordable, safe, warm and secure homes in sustainable communities. I do not underestimate the challenges in achieving our ambitious target. However, we are building on our already strong relationships, making significant resource available and seeking to facilitate housing development across Wales – all of which I am confident will help us to succeed.”