27 Feb 2024

Despite budget movement more investment still needed to tackle the housing crisis in Wales

The Welsh Government has published its final budget for 2024/25, highlighting that the budget has been drafted to protect the services that matter most to the people of Wales.  Welsh Government has amended some of the draft budget amounts due to increased funding from the UK Government. Despite some increases to budgets related to housing Welsh Government is clear in the final budget that the economic forecast has not changed, and it is unlikely that further monies will come from UK Government following the spring budget. Despite this the Welsh Government has sought in its final budget to protect core frontline services.

We appreciate the difficult decisions that have been made by Welsh Government and welcome the additional £5 million allocated to homelessness prevention and support. Realistically this is an additional £2 million, rather than £5 million. In 2023/24 he Welsh Government proposed a £5 million increase to the homelessness prevention and support budget for 2024/25. However, this was then reduced to a £2 million increase in the 2024/25 draft budget. A cut of £3 million. So, the additional £5 million in this final budget is in reality a £2 million increase to the overall budget for homelessness prevention and support.  Despite this the additional allocation for homelessness prevention and support is welcomed as these monies are vital to help meet the aim to make homelessness in Wales brief, rare and non-repeated.

Yet we know preventing homelessness is only one part of the solution. We need more accommodation to move someone out of homelessness when it cannot be prevented. As such we welcome Welsh Governments decision to provide an additional £5 million capital funding to build new low-carbon social homes taking the total level of investment for 2024/25 to £370 million . A welcome addition to the record level of investment to develop 20,000 new low-carbon social homes in Wales.

The final budget has set out the following levels of investment for housing in Wales:

  • Ongoing capital investment of £370 million in 2024/25 for building new low-carbon social homes through the Social Housing Grant
  • £92 million to support decarbonisation of existing social housing
  • £108 million for Large Scale Voluntary Stock Transfer Organisations Dowry payments
  • £127 million capital investment in building safety
  • £35 million capital investment to tackle fuel poverty
  • £4 million investment in the Homebuy scheme
  • £8 million to tackle Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence
  • £38.5 million for the Discretionary Assistance Fund. 

Matt Dicks, national director of CIH Cymru commented on the budget: 

“Wales is currently in the midst of a sustained and systemic housing emergency. Currently 139,000 people including 34,000 children are waiting for social housing. In addition, there are 11,300 individuals including 3,300 children placed in temporary accommodation in Wales and 174 people having to sleep rough due to a lack of accommodation.

“We welcome the additional capital funding of £5 million to support the development of 20,000 new homes at social rent, taking the total annual spend for 2024/25 to £370 million. Monies that are crucial to helping increasing supply of homes central to ending the housing and homelessness crisis.

“Yet it is not enough to just build new homes we also need to ensure the most vulnerable within our communities can access the right support in the right place in order to maintain their tenancies. This is also a key part of preventing homelessness in Wales ensuring that when homelessness does occur it is rare, brief and unrepeated. We therefore welcome the additional £5 million revenue funding for prevention and support as part of the wider aim to end homelessness in Wales.

“CIH Cymru fully understands the budgetary settlement that the Welsh Government has been dealt – a £1.3 billion cut in real-terms – and the pressure faced by the NHS post-covid. So, granted there are really tough decisions for ministers to take, but unless we make providing everyone in Wales with a safe, sustainable, and affordable home a foundation mission, our own independent #BacktheBill research has shown that it will cost us billions further down the track, and that’s on top of the very real human misery caused by not having a place to call home.”