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Independent Affordable Housing Supply Review

Published: 11/03/2020

Cabinet members will be asked to note the recommendations of an independent review of Affordable Housing Supply in Wales as well as the Welsh Government Minister’s comments when they meet on 17 March.

In 2018 Welsh Government commissioned an independent review of Affordable Housing Supply in Wales which covered eight key areas.

In July 2019, the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James AM, published the Welsh Government’s response to the recommendations made.  

Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Dave Hughes, said:

"The Council and our strategic partners have been working to deliver the recommendations on both a local and regional basis and, indeed, many are already in place.

“However, it is still too early to understand the full implications of some of the recommendations as Welsh Government needs to review them or establish how they can be developed and implemented.”

The eight areas and the implications for the Council are summarised below:

  1. Housing need – Welsh Government (WG) is committed to reviewing housing need data including supporting local authorities to produce up to date Local Housing Market Assessments (LHMAs). The implication for the Council would be to ensure there is the resource within Housing Strategy teams to produce and update LHMAs.
  2. Housing Quality Standards – the planning and housing teams need to work closely with WG to achieve change and ensure implementation of the new space standards of affordable homes as well as working to achieve zero carbon on all affordable housing.
  3. Modern Methods of Construction – the Council is currently developing 12 apartments in Garden City through WG’s Innovative Housing Programme and the Council has responded to WG consultation on ‘social house building off-site manufacturing including the emerging options for modular construction.
  4. Rent policy – WG supports a five year rent policy which will require social landlords to prepare an annual assessment of affordability, cost efficiencies and value for money as part of any rent uplift to be applied each year. FCC has taken this into account in the Housing Revenue Account business planning process for the next financial year.
  5. Local authorities as enablers and builders – WG supports a series of measures to allow local authorities to deliver more affordable housing, including: promoting closer working between local authorities and housing associations and improving processes for Compulsory Purchase Orders and Empty Management Development Orders.
  6. Public Sector Land – WG is carrying out a business case for establishing a land body.
  7. Financing Affordable Housing – WG is reviewing and designing a new grant model. The Council supports this review with a particular emphasis on ensuring local authorities can access grants to support their development programmes. At present Registered Social Landlords receive 58% on schemes, this is not a level playing field.
  8. Dowry and Major Repairs Allowance (MRA) – WG is reviewing the position regarding the MRA, such that local authorities will be required to demonstrate an accelerated programme of decarbonisation of existing homes in return for an ongoing commitment to Dowry and MRA.