Wales to miss quality target for social housing
By Richard Johnstone | 13 January 2012
Government is going to miss its target for improving social housing, the
auditor general for Wales said today.
All 221,000 homes
were meant to meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard by the end of this year
but this goal will not now be met for ‘some considerable time’, according to
the audit report.
The standard sets seven quality targets for homes, including
that they are structurally stable, fuel efficient and well insulated.
In 2010, 26% of
social housing had fully met the standard, according to government figures
published in March 2011. A much higher proportion complied with parts of the
standard, with the greatest shortfall being in bathrooms and kitchens.
According to landlords’ projections, 61% of homes will meet the standard by March 2013. About half of the remainder will achieve the target by March 2017. The remaining 21% of the homes will fail even by this date because they are in the middle of stock transfer votes or tenants have voted against transfer.
Auditor general Huw
Vaughan Thomas said that although the quality of many homes had improved since
the standard was introduced in 2002, there had been a ‘weakness in leadership’ of
In particular, the
Welsh Government had not acted swiftly enough to support and supervise progress
or to monitor the value for money of the significant investment in work to
achieve the standard. It is also ‘unclear’ how much the government had spent on
The report, Progress in delivering
the Welsh Housing Quality Standard, also found that the ten-year
target had been hit by slower than expected development of landlords’ work
Landlords plan to
have spent £2.5bn on major repairs and planned maintenance between April 2011
and March 2017 to achieve and maintain compliance.
The report makes
a number of recommendations for government based on this new finish date,
including strengthening monitoring arrangements and identifying solutions for
homes that won’t meet the standard by then.
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.
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.’
A Welsh Government spokeswoman said it was actively working with landlords that have indicated they will fail the 2012 target date.
She added: ‘Around £1.6bn has been invested to date in bringing people's homes up to the standard and, in these challenging economic times, we are committed to continuing to invest in improving the housing stock. Despite significant cuts to capital budgets as a result of the UK government settlement, the WHQS budget has been protected for the next two years.’