Government moves the goalposts as Welsh homes fail to meet the standard

2012 Hydref 16 3:07 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Housing Minister, Peter Black has expressed his concern that so many local authority and housing association homes in Wales have failed to reach government standards, despite a target that set 10 years ago that every one would be fit for purpose by this year.

Statistics released yesterday show that as of 31 March 2012 a total of 72,329 social housing dwellings (33 per cent) were fully compliant with the Welsh Housing Quality Standard and a further 19,825 dwellings (9 per cent) were compliant subject to acceptable fails.

A greater proportion of registered social landlord dwellings had achieved full compliance at 31 March 2012 at 40 per cent (53,260 dwellings) compared to just 22 per cent (19,069 dwellings) of local authority homes. Housing Associations also had a higher proportion of their dwellings achieving compliance subject to acceptable fails at 14 per cent compared with 2 per cent of local authority dwellings.

"It is very worrying how badly the Welsh Government have missed their own target" said Mr. Black. "It means that thousands of tenants in social housing are living in poor standard accommodation, many suffering from damp and cold, others with poor standards in their kitchens and bathrooms.

"The Welsh Government' reaction has been to move the target yet again. The recent Government Housing White Paper now says that they will work with Councils to meet get homes up to standard by 2020. That is yet another long distance target that current Ministers can not be held to account on simply because they will have moved on to pastures new by that time.

"And it is not as if the current failure is one that can be put down to long-grass syndrome. In July 2011 the current Housing Minister stated that 78% of registered social landlord homes will achieve the Welsh Housing Quality Standard by 2012 Just 14 months later he has failed to achieve even half that number. He needs to explain what he action he took to try and meet that target and why he failed so badly.

A report commissioned by the BRE Trust and Shelter Cymru concluded that poor housing costs Wales £168 million each year as a result of consequential poor health. The Welsh Government's failure to meet its own targets on the Welsh Housing Quality Standard just adds to that cost both in monetary and human terms."

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