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Plaid call for emergency action to stop winter homelessness

12 Oct 2022 3 minute read
Photo by Ev on Unsplash.

Plaid Cymru has called on Welsh Government to use the powers it has to prevent more people becoming homeless over winter as a result of rapidly rising rents.

Plaid Cymru spokesperson for housing, Mabon ap Gwynfor has renewed calls to freeze all rents and ban all evictions, stating that “in the face of such a crisis, inaction is not an option” and that “failure to act represents a dereliction of duty”.

Speaking ahead of his party’s debate in the Senedd, where Welsh Government will once again be called upon to free rents in the private rental sector and place a moratorium on evictions, Mr ap Gwynfor said: “The Scottish Government has already implemented a rent freeze – following a Labour campaign in Scotland – so why is the Welsh Labour Government here failing to act to protect Welsh citizens?”

The announcement from the Scottish Government to freeze rents and ban evictions came on 6 September, and the Scottish measures are expected to remain in place until the end of March 2023.

Mabon ap Gwynfor MS said: “We’re in the midst of both a housing crisis and one of the worst cost-of-living crises in living memory, and these crises are inextricably linked.

“The cost of everyday living is rooted in housing costs, and in turn rocketing housing costs are exacerbating the cost-of-living crisis.

“The Labour Welsh Government must act urgently to prevent people becoming homeless during winter by freezing all rents and banning all evictions in the private rented sector. A crisis such as this warrants emergency action – such as government took in the pandemic. Why not now?

“Labour is quick to place the blame on the Tories in Westminster, but the truth is that they have the power to act. Failure to do so will represent a dereliction of duty by Labour in Wales to protect our most vulnerable and maximise the benefits of devolution.

“We are told that there are concerns about the potential impact of unintended consequences from taking such action. The truth is that there are serious consequences to not doing anything, and we will see a significant increase in the numbers of people presenting themselves as homeless if nothing is done to protect them. In the face of such a crisis, inaction is not an option.”

Rent increases

Wales’ average rental values have increased to £926 per month in June 2022, up by 15.1% compared to June 2021.

The Bevan Foundation’s Snapshot of Poverty report published in the summer, reveals that 11 per cent of Welsh people are worried about losing their home – a 7% increase from November 2021.

This is largely driven by the private rental sector, where a quarter of tenants are worried about losing their home.  

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