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Written Statement - Affordable Housing Supply Review

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Rebecca Evans, Minister for Housing and Regeneration

The Welsh Government has a longstanding commitment to increasing the supply of affordable homes, and this commitment is central to Prosperity for All.  

We have a target of building 20,000 new affordable homes over the course of this Assembly, but I want to lay the ground work for the prospect of setting even more stretching targets in the future, in response to a range of housing needs.  I also want Welsh Government to continue to create a climate which drives innovation and improvements in terms of design, quality and energy efficiency.  

To support this, I am commissioning a review of affordable housing supply. To ensure that the review is fair, transparent and robust, I will establish an independent panel to oversee this work. The panel working under an independent Chair, will examine the approach we are currently taking, and recommend changes as it sees fit. I have asked Lynn Pamment to chair this group, and I am pleased she has accepted.

Lynn is a Cardiff office senior partner at PwC, and has experience of working with housing associations and others in the affordable housing sector, as well as a broader wealth of knowledge on the public sector more generally.

The review will need to balance the growing need for affordable homes against a backdrop of continuing pressures on the public expenditure available to support house building.

My intention is to establish the review on a task and finish basis, and I expect a report and recommendations from the panel by the end of April 2019.

In scrutinising the existing arrangements for delivering affordable housing, the group will be expected to:

  • examine the scope for increasing matching sources of finance and the implications of that for grant intervention rates
  • Examine how partnership working is currently governed between local authorities and housing associations, and recommend how relationships can be maximised to deliver on housing supply ambitions
  • evaluate the impact of moving to deliver zero carbon homes by 2020 including the role of off-site manufacture and modern methods of construction 
  • provide advice on whether there should be changes to the standards governing the design and quality of affordable housing
  • make recommendations on how a sustainable rent policy can help determine long term affordability for tenants and the viability of existing and new housing developments.
  • advise on how the development capacity in Large Stock Voluntary Transfer (LSVT) housing associations and stock-holding local authorities can be maximised especially after 2020 when all existing stock meets the Wales Housing Quality Standard.  

I will provide a further statement on the membership of the panel in the near future.