12/03/2022

Wales News Online

Local & National News for Wales

Jane Dodds raises concerns over housing sector crisis

THE Welsh Liberal Democrats have raised concerns over an “alarming
rise” in the number of households rough sleeping in Wales and at risk
of homelessness in Wales, citing inaction by the Conservative party on
the cost-of-living, as well as poor housing laws from Labour in Wales as
contributing factors.

The figures showed a 28% increase in rough sleeping and come after
figures last month showed a 27% annual increase in those threatened with
homelessness (Section 66) in the year 2021- 22.

Welsh Government figures also show that only 1,232 new homes were built
between April and June, 27% less than in the same quarter of 2019.

If this rate was replicated throughout the whole of 2022, 4,928 homes
would be completed far below the median estimated annual [1] need of
7,400.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

“These figures are extremely alarming and point to serious problems
with the Welsh housing sector and the wider housing market.

“A factor in this is almost certainly the skyrocketing inflation we
are witnessing right now, with food and energy bills increasing so much
it is not surprising that families are struggling to make ends meet.
Research from the Bevan Foundation showed that 39% of people in Wales
were having to cut back their spending on food.

“These rapid price rises have caused families to be hit by severe
financial instability with poorer households shown to be bearing the
brunt.

“The Conservative Party at Westminster has utterly failed to introduce
the level of support needed to prevent this suffering. Instead, they
actually made things considerably worse by causing mortgage rates to
skyrocket at the hands of their botched mini-budget.

“But the Welsh Labour Government has not got clean hands in this
crisis either. The decision made by Welsh Labour to delay renting
reforms in Wales has likely contributed to housing insecurity. Rather
than ban no-fault evictions like England and Scotland, Labour has chosen
to simply increase the notice period from 2-6 months, with even this
limited action being delayed.

“We also need to see more homes being built and while policies such as
increasing taxation on second homes are welcome they are not a silver
bullet or a replacement for house building. Labour must urgently come up
with a plan in hand with local authorities to beat the housing crisis.

“With the cost-of-living crisis set to significantly worsen as we get
further into to winter, we need strong action from both the Welsh Labour
Government and Conservative UK Government urgently because right now too
many people are being let down.”

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