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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Isherwood hits out over housing target

Shadow Housing Minister Mark Isherwood AM has criticised the Welsh Government's affordable housing target for having no connection to the number in housing need.
Speaking in this yesterday’s Assembly debate on Affordable Housing, Mr Isherwood (pictured) called on Ministers to end Wales' housing crisis and described the Welsh Government’s affordable housing target as arbitrary.
He said: “The October 2014 Homes for All Cymru manifesto starts ‘there is a housing crisis with more than 90,000 households on waiting lists’. This is the same figure that applied five years ago. Figures in England fell by 300,000 during that period.
“In June this year Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru stated ‘Wales needs to build 15,000 homes per year if we’re to stand a chance of ending the housing crisis within a generation. We’re calling on Welsh Government to continue to demonstrate their understanding that housing is critical infrastructure.’
“Although this Labour Government has a habit of missing its targets, normally at least they have the merit of being based on real populations, such as numbers of patients or pupils.
“However, this affordable homes target is arbitrary and cynical, bearing no relation to the actual numbers in housing need.
“We also lack clarity over what Labour includes in its affordable homes target - where previous figures largely comprised social housing units, but the current Welsh Government figures appear to be inflated with other housing types.”
He added: “Two 2015 reports completed by NLP Planning for the house-building industry in Wales state that their updated household projections for new dwellings up to 2031 indicate that the current level of housing delivery is only just over half of the identified housing need across Wales.  And September’s Bevan Foundation report, The Shape of Wales to Come, states `that in order to meet anticipated housing need there needs to be 14,200 new homes created each year, including 5,100 non-market homes'.
"They add that `less than half the requirement is being met, with the biggest shortfall in social housing'.
“We need a whole market solution to the Welsh housing supply crisis in social rent, low cost home ownership and open market purchase and we need to be asking Housing Associations how we can better link housing supply to sustainable community regeneration.”

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