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By Keith Edwards, HQN Lead Associate, HQN Cymru
All eyes in Wales have started to focus on the Senedd elections in May 2021. Our politics here are normally well below the radar of the UK media. Covid has changed that.
After much initial confusion when the position in England was regularly – and wrongly – read across to include Wales, the BBC and some of the press seem to have finally got it: we do things differently here.
The whole purpose of devolution was to set our own course in ways that more accurately reflected the needs and aspirations of a small and self-contained nation.
Our First Minister retains broad support for his government’s approach to the health and economic crises. The positive contrast with the performance of the UK government has boosted our confidence in our ability to take a different tack and do the right thing for us.
This has undoubtedly been one of the reasons support for independence is at its highest ever, at around one in three of the population. And although some polls have suggested gains for the Conservatives next May, the most recent predict that Labour and Plaid Cymru will have around two thirds of the seats after the election – 40 out of 60.
A centre left accommodation of some sorts, however difficult to broker, seems most likely.
So, what does this mean for housing? In short, good news for our sector.
Building new social housing, a massive decarbonisation programme for exiting homes, and a growing role for associations as agents of recovery will be cornerstones of Labour and Plaid manifestos.
And there is a real prosect that the next government will bring forward legislation to enshrine the right to housing in law – a policy which also has the support of Conservatives.
So, watch this space if you want to see progressive housing policies in practice. It’s going to be an interesting few years.