Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government
Section 45C of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 (‘the 1984 Act’) enables the Welsh Ministers, by regulations, to make provision for the purpose of preventing, protecting against, controlling or providing a public health response to the incidence or spread of infection or contamination in Wales.
As Minister for Housing and Local Government, and using the powers under section 45C of the 1984 Act, I made the Public Health (Protection from Eviction) (Wales) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 (‘the 2021 Regulations’) to respond to the serious and imminent threat to public health which is posed by the incidence and spread of Covid 19. The Regulations came into force on 11 January and are due to expire at the end of the day on 31 March 2021.
Regulation 3 of the 2021 Regulations requires that the Welsh Ministers must review the need for the restrictions and requirements imposed, and whether those restrictions are proportionate to what the Welsh Ministers seek to achieve by them:
- at least once in the period from 11 January 2021 to 28 January 2021; and
- at least once in each subsequent period of 21 days.
In accordance with that requirement, I have completed the third review of the 2021 Regulations. Whilst the latest evidence shows positive reductions in case numbers, test positivity and the reproduction umber across Wales there remains considerable uncertainty about how quickly cases might rise if restrictions are lifted too quickly. The approach remains one of caution with only very limited easing of the restrictions which have been in place over the past few months. The 2021 Regulations are still needed because there remains an increased risk of eviction into homelessness at a time when we remain at Alert
Level 4. I have therefore concluded in this review that the protections offered by the 2021 Regulations remain proportionate and should remain in place.
As set out above, this review relates to maintaining the regulations preventing evictions. However, these regulations, and those requiring longer notice periods to end a tenancy, are both due to expire on 31 March. Consideration is currently being given as to whether both protections need to remain in place beyond March. A decision on this will be taken shortly, based on the latest available evidence