Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children
The achievement of the Welsh Housing Quality Standard by 2020 is important because the standard of people’s homes affects their health and well-being, their children’s educational attainment and life chances, and the quality of the area in which they live.
I welcome new data published on 6 October which shows that 177,219 households (79%) now live in good quality homes. This is an increase of 17,902 in the past year, a rise of 8 percentage points. All social landlords are still on track to meet our 2020 date for the achievement of the standard.
This achievement is possible because we have continued to provide £108m of capital investment every year, which levers in almost five times that amount from social landlords across Wales. Our money and their efforts have made a huge difference to the homes of some of our poorest tenants. 79% of the homes now have sound roofs, secure doors and windows, energy efficient boilers, smoke alarms, up-to-date kitchens and bathrooms. Achievement on some individual elements is even higher. For example 98% of homes now have central heating.
There is still work to be done but the improvements are now very apparent on the ground. I am impressed by what has been achieved and over the years I have spoken to many tenants whose homes have been improved and heard about the positive impact this has had on their lives.
This programme has wider benefits in terms of the Government’s priorities. The connection between poor housing and poor health is generally acknowledged. What is not always recognised are the significant benefits to be achieved by ensuring the huge capital sums invested each year through the WHQS programme by Welsh Government and landlords, creates jobs, training and supply chain opportunities in some of our poorest communities through a community benefits approach.
So far Value Wales’s Community Benefits Measurement Tool has tracked contracts worth £452 million and seen 85% of that expenditure re-invested in Wales. As a result the investment has helped over 777 people into employment or training, and providing the equivalent of 19,920 weeks of training.
The data on WHQS progress published on 6 October is very good news for our people, our communities and our businesses in Wales.