Carl Sargeant, Minister for Housing and Regeneration
As the Welsh Government we set the functional framework for housing associations, supporting and influencing the provision of new social and affordable homes. We do this in a number of ways. For example, through regulation, setting rent policy, establishing the broad regulatory environment for development and providing direct funding through the Social Housing Grant and Housing Finance Grant programmes and from other sources such as the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan.
The 2007-08 Essex Review provided the context for a renewed positive partnership between the Welsh Government and the Welsh housing association movement, focused on delivery. This successful partnership has seen housing associations increase their gearing in response to increased need and policy innovation. Between 2007 and 2011 the housing association movement delivered the majority of additional affordable homes - 7,746 against the Welsh Government target of 6,500 additional homes – nearly 20% over target.
In the first two years of this Welsh Government administration, 4,474 additional affordable homes have been delivered including 1,652 without grant. Housing associations have delivered over 3,500 of these homes. This performance has been supported by the success of the Social Housing Grant programme, additional capital being made available through the Welsh Infrastructure Investment Programme, the housing association sector delivering affordable housing without grant subsidy and the early potential of new initiatives such as the Housing Finance Grant and Welsh Housing Partnership.
However, while 60% of the original affordable housing target of 7,500 has been achieved in just two years, the need for new homes still significantly exceeds supply. As Minister for Housing and Regeneration, I have made clear that my priority is increasing housing supply and I have asked all sectors to do as much as they can with the resources they have available.
This Pact has been developed to support the delivery of the increased affordable housing target of 10,000 homes I announced in my Oral Statement – Increasing Housing Supply, on 4 March 2014.
This Pact sets out commitments from the Welsh Government and the housing association movement for the remainder of this administration as follows.
The Welsh Government commits to:
- ensuring a sustainable rent policy is in place for the 5-year period 2014-19
- continue to provide capital investment through Social Housing Grant to build on the £82M allocated in 2013/2014 and £58M confirmed for 2014/2015.
- working with the housing association sector to further innovate to deliver affordable homes building on the experience of the Housing Finance Grant and the Welsh Housing Partnership
- taking action to make publicly owned land available for housing
- undertaking a review of Development Quality Requirements and other development related regulation
- implementing the risk-based regulatory framework via relationship management and a co-regulation approach
- progressing the positive planning agenda
The housing association movement - represented by Community Housing Cymru - commits to:
- ensuring that all associations work in partnership with the Welsh Government, local authorities and others to deliver the new affordable housing target of 10,000 homes for the period 2011-16
- maximising community benefits through investment and other opportunities
- striving for the highest standards of governance through implementation of a governance improvement agenda supported by a new Code of Governance for the sector and including a drive for gender balanced boards
- working with the Welsh Government to embed risk-based regulation and co-regulation
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.