Homes for Wales

I was glad to attend this week’s ‘Homes for Wales’ awareness event in Newport, hosted by Charter Housing. The campaign – which is supported by a coalition of Welsh housing associations and charities including Shelter Cymru – calls on the Welsh Government to commit to ending the housing crisis in Wales, and ensure that everyone has the right to decent affordable housing.

Campaigners highlight the fact that that since 2008, house prices in Wales have risen by 16% to more than six times the average person’s income. Meanwhile it is estimated that every year up to 12000 new homes would be needed to meet current levels of demand in Wales

The lack of affordable housing across the UK is a massive problem, and I am glad that the Welsh Labour Government has taken some positive steps to combat the crisis – investing in good quality affordable housing, renovating a great many empty properties and phasing out ‘right to buy’ to protect social housing stock. With that being said, there is still a huge amount of work to do. In Newport alone we have thousands of families on housing waiting lists and many in temporary accommodation. Across some Wales some 8,600 families have been on a housing waiting list for over 5 years.

Similarly a recent report from the Resolution Foundation found that – within the next decade – nine out of ten Britons on modest incomes under the age of 35 will not be able to afford home ownership. We face the prospect of becoming a country with a stark division between wealthy home owners and a younger generation of permanent renters.

We can’t carry on like this, and I support the ‘Homes for Wales’ campaign’s call for radical and ambitious action on housing.