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A White Paper for Better Lives and Communities

This White Paper sets out our proposals for new legislation and other, non-legislative, action.
Start of consultation: 21/05/2012
End of consultation: 17/08/2012

The benefits of investing in homes and related services extend well beyond putting a roof over someone’s head. A decent home that people can afford is essential to their ability to live healthy, productive lives in safe, strong, inclusive and fair communities. It provides children with the best possible start to their lives and the chance to realise their full potential. Good homes can also reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which can help to tackle climate change, exemplifying sustainable development in practice.

We are in difficult times. Housing markets are depressed and new house building is at a low point. More affordable homes are being built but numbers have fallen as the impact of public sector cuts is felt. Some of the factors behind the changes, such as Welfare Reform, are outside our control. The underlying trend in homelessness is upwards, fuelled by rising costs of living, depressed earnings, and in some cases, people losing their jobs. The quality of existing homes is also cause for concern, with potential impacts on people’s safety, and their health and well being, most worryingly for children.

The challenges do not deter us from doing as much as we can to help people meet their housing needs. If anything, they strengthen our resolve. Homes that people can afford are fundamental to our goals of reducing poverty and greater equality. We are committed to making housing a greater priority in coming years.

This White Paper sets out an ambitious programme of action for the remainder of this term of Government. It describes our proposals for new legislation and other, nonlegislative,
action. In summary, they will:

  • Increase the supply of new homes:
    • by 7,500 new affordable homes, of which 500 will be co-operative homes and 500 will be built on surplus public sector sites, and
    • by bringing 5,000 empty properties back into use.
  • Improve the quality of existing homes, including their energy efficiency, through the Welsh Housing Quality Standard and other mechanisms.
  • Do more to prevent homelessness, and improve housing services to help people, particularly those who are vulnerable, to lead healthy, independent, lives.
  • Make a significant contribution towards our long-term vision by ending family homelessness by 2019.

Your views on the proposals set out in this document are important. We believe that the new legislation we are proposing will make a difference to people’s lives. In the coming months, we will be considering in even greater depth the impacts of our proposals, building on our work to date with organisations that have an interest.

This White Paper is open for public consultation and your comments on the proposals are welcome.