The Member for Aberconwy – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has urged the Welsh Government to play a more proactive role in encouraging the transfer of housing stock from local authorities to Registered Social Landlord (RSL).
The economic benefit of such associations are clear - according to Community Housing Cymru, in 2019/20, associations spent £1.3bn directly in the Welsh economy, and for every one of the around 10,000 full time staff, another 1.5 jobs were supported elsewhere.
Similarly, associations play a leading role in addressing the climate emergency. In 2018/19, housing associations spent approximately £17.9m on reducing carbon emissions in their existing stock. This is in addition to their work towards achieving 99% compliance in the Welsh Housing Quality Standard in March 2019.
Commenting after her question to the First Minister, Janet said:
“Housing associations provide around 165,000 homes and related housing services for around 10% of the population. Our associations often go beyond their core purpose of providing affordable housing for those who need it, playing an essential role in community cohesion and in our work to combat climate change.
“There are numerous examples proving that our 59 RSLs are delivering for our communities. In my own constituency, Cartrefi Conwy has founded an award-winning building and maintenance social enterprise contractor. Similarly, Adra has been shortlisted for three national Housing Awards and Monmouth Housing is driving toward full zero carbon building.
“I remain most surprised that the last local authority to transfer 100% of its housing stock was Neath Port Talbot in 2011. This is why I have called on the Welsh Government to take steps to promote the transfer of stock to RSLs so that the whole of Wales can reap the economic and community benefits.
“Whilst the First Minister’s answer today took a hopelessly hands-off approach, emphasising that Local Authorities are required to ballot tenants before a transfer can take place, there is certainly more work that his administration can do to assist with achieving transfer.”