Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government
In accordance with the inter-institutional relations agreement, the second meeting of the Interministerial Group (IMG) for Housing, Communites and Local Government was held on 10 May 2023. As lead Minister for this IMG, I asked the Minister for Climate Change to chair the meeting, as the agenda items fell within her portfolio. This meeting had originally been planned for 10 October 2022, but was postponed at the request of the UK Government.
The Minister for Climate Change, Julie James MS was unable to attend on the day and sent her apologies. The Welsh Government was represented by: Emma Williams, Director of Housing and Regeneration; Sarah Rhodes, Head of Homelessness Prevention; Andrea Street, Deputy Director, Housing Safety Regulations & Standards; and Jo Larner, Head of Building Safety Programme.
The Minister for Housing, Paul McLennan MSP attended for the Scottish Government and stepped in to chair the meeting in the Minister Climate Change’s absence. Mark O'Donnell, Deputy Secretary of Housing, Urban Regeneration and Local Government; Paul Price, Director of Social Housing Policy and Kieran Devlin, Deputy Director of Housing Supply Policy represented the Northern Ireland Executive. From the UK Government, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Housing and Rough Sleeping and for the Union and Constitution: Felicity Buchan MP, who was not present for the building safety item given her constituency link to Grenfell, and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government and Building Safety: Lee Rowley MP.
Homelessness was the substantive item on the agenda and the group discussed the common priorities and challenges each government faces around tackling homelessness. Making the Private Rented Sector work to prevent homelessness and prioritising targeted prevention were key focus areas, while the impact of cost-of-living, the war in Ukraine and other humanitarian crises were shared concerns in the context of homelessness. There are also common challenges around LHA rates, workforce resilience and the number of people in temporary accommodation. The group also discussed progress made on building safety matters since the inaugural IMG meeting.
They acknowledged the positive working relationship between officials in the areas of building safety and homelessness and agreed for this official level engagement to continue. The group agreed the Scottish Government would host the next meeting, likely to take place in the autumn. Officials will now work together to identify a specific date and suitable agenda items.