Time to raise the bar on Wales’ housing standards
Climate Change Minister Julie James yesterday announced the upcoming launch of a consultation on proposed new social housing quality standard for Wales.
The Minister said the Welsh Housing Quality Standard 2023 (WHQS 2023) would ‘build on the excellent achievements of its predecessor’ - the standard introduced in 2002.
Since then, the Welsh Government has worked with social landlord delivery partners to invest billions of pounds to significantly improve and maintain the quality of social homes across Wales.
As a result, by the end of 2020, 99 per cent of social housing in Wales met the original WHQS - a standard which is more demanding than in the other home nations.
Speaking in the Senedd, the Minister yesterday said:
Reflecting on the levels of achievement of the current standard, I am sure members will agree that, after 20 years, the standard is due to be reviewed, especially to acknowledge the considerable changes to how people live, work and feel about their homes.
The world has moved on apace in the last 20 years and our expectation of our homes has moved on too.
The proposed standard aims to be bold but ultimately achievable. We aim with our consultation to ensure that the voice of the sector is taken into account in finalising these standards and getting them right.
Setting standards is not an easy business at the best of times. It is even more challenging setting standards relating to the decarbonisation of homes - which is a developing area where we are learning what works best on an ongoing basis.
The £220m committed over this term of government to the Optimised Retrofit Programme, our whole house, pragmatic, approach to decarbonising existing homes will help.
It will provide some of the answers to how we effectively and efficiently reduce carbon emissions from homes in line with our Net Zero Wales plan.
However, in the face of the climate change emergency we cannot stand still, and we must continue to push progress and set standards to address decarbonisation through a variety of measures in existing social housing.
More than 900 tenants have been involved in the development of the new standard and technical elements have been supported by experts who have looked at what else is happening across the UK and the rest of the world.
The Minister added:
I make no apology for proposing what some will see as a bold approach, I am determined the standards bar should be raised again.
Meeting our Net Zero Wales targets requires us to make determined progress and I believe these standards are fit to take us forward in that regard.
Our social housing tenants deserve these standards to be the best we can make them.
My firm hope is that these standards will not only be brought to bear for social housing, but that in the future other tenures may consider how they too might meet and exceed these expectations.
The proposed WHQS 2023 standards will be published for consultation from Wednesday May 11 and will be open for stakeholders to respond to for 12 weeks.
Latest News from
£2.9 million boost for Wales’ Brilliant Basics, the little things which make a big difference to a holiday experience20/05/2022 15:10:00
Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething has today announced £2.9 million from the Welsh Government’s Brilliant Basics capital fund will be shared among 18 projects that will help deliver small-scale infrastructure improvements in strategically important tourism locations across Wales.
Buzzing for World Bee Day20/05/2022 13:10:00
Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has visited an award-winning honey producer in Builth Wells to celebrate World Bee Day which takes place today (Friday, 20 May).
Welsh Government response to publication of latest NHS Wales performance data19/05/2022 14:05:00
The Welsh Government has issued a statement on the latest NHS Wales performance data published today (Thursday, 19th May).
Work to improve urgent and emergency care picks up pace19/05/2022 11:05:00
New services are being developed to improve access to urgent and emergency care across Wales so people get the right care, in the right place, the first time.
Over £750,000 for libraries and museums in Wales19/05/2022 09:05:00
Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, has visited Museum of Cardiff on International Museum Day to announce just over £750,000 of Welsh Government funding to help local libraries, museums to develop their facilities and services.
Independent review of floods announced to help Wales adapt to climate change18/05/2022 16:15:00
An independent review of flooding events across Wales during the winter of 2020-21 has been launched, the Welsh Government has announced.
£182m to support independent living and reduce pressures on health and social care services18/05/2022 10:20:00
“A decent and affordable home is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of everybody.”
Funding for music education trebled to the tune of £13.5m17/05/2022 14:25:00
Every child will have the opportunity to benefit from music education as part of the Welsh Government’s plans for a national music service, which will help ensure no child misses out due to a lack of means.
Welsh Government steps in to replace EU-funded programmes to support people with complex barriers to find work17/05/2022 11:05:00
A key Welsh Government-funded programme to help people most disadvantaged in the labour market into work will be expanded in 2023, following the winding-up of two existing EU-funded programmes, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, yesterday announced.