Welsh social housing standards 'will not be met'
The Welsh Government will not meet its target for improving the quality of social housing, according to a report.
The government said that all social homes would meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard by the end of 2012. But a report from the Wales Audit Office suggests the target for not be met for a ‘considerable time’.
According to government figures released last year, 26 per cent of social housing met the WHQS in full by March 2010. However, a larger proportion of homes met some elements of the WHQS, with the greatest shortfall being in standards of bathrooms and kitchens.
Landlord projections in 2010 showed that 61 per cent of homes were expected to meet the WHQS in full by March 2013, and 79 per cent by March 2017. The main shortfall was in areas where tenants had voted against proposals to transfer the local authority housing stock to a new housing association, or where tenants were yet to be balloted on similar proposals.
The report pointed to weaknesses in leadership around the WHQS, and found the Welsh Government has not acted swiftly enough to support and monitor progress. It has also not put an effective framework in place to demonstrate value for money from the significant investment in work to achieve the WHQS, it said.
Huw Vaughan Thomas, auditor general for Wales, said: ‘The quality of social housing is clearly improving, but a lot of work remains to be done to ensure all social housing in Wales meets the minimum requirements of the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.
‘The Welsh Government needs to demonstrate effective leadership to ensure that progress is sustained and the substantial investment planned for the next few years is used to best effect, particularly in these challenging financial times.’
Nick Bennett, chief executive of Community Housing Cymru, said: ‘This report shows that we’ve made massive progress in meeting the WHQS and are generating local training and job opportunities and broader community regeneration – but we know we have more to do.’