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The right to adequate housing is being violated across Britain, including in Wales. The introduction of the right to adequate housing represents a practical, long-term solution to many of the problems caused by the violation of this right.

At least 65 countries already have enforceable economic, social and cultural rights in their constitutions.

In March 2023, we delivered these two messages in a submission to the Welsh Senedd’s Local Government and Housing Committee’s consultation on the right to adequate housing.

In our submission we made it clear that we support the Back the Bill campaign in Wales, a campaign to incorporate into Welsh law the right to adequate housing for all.  For more information on this campaign, check our Tai Pawb’s recent guest blog.

The issues

In our submission we noted multiple issues in relation to current access to the right to adequate housing including:

  • The growth of the private rental sector (PRS) and the issues with using the PRS to meet public housing needs and address homelessness (such as a lack of adequate controls on landlords, and the unfair and unrestrained use of evictions).
  • The operation of housing benefit freezes and caps. These contribute to problems identified, specifically Local Housing Allowance (which is non-devolved) not being raised in line with housing costs/inflation, overcrowding and the poor state of repair of housing available.
  • Families experiencing homelessness being left in temporary accommodation for long periods of time and being further aggravated by the impact of No Recourse to Public Funds We noted that temporary accommodation placements are increasing in Wales, with a reported rise of 24% between 2016 and 2020.
  • Access to the right to adequate housing being further compounded by additional inequality factors. These relate to racially minoritised individuals and families, those experiencing economic disadvantage, people with severe learning disabilities, those with insecure immigration status, young people in the social care system, and LGBT+ people.
  • Accessibility of culturally appropriate housing for Gypsy and Traveller people as an inadequately addressed issue.

The solution

We emphasised that the incorporation of the right to adequate housing into domestic law would be an important step which could be taken by the UK and Welsh Governments.

The ‘Back the Bill’ campaign has highlighted how introduction of a right to adequate housing into domestic law in Wales would generate significant savings worth £11.5bn against overall costs of £5bn over a 30-year period.

In our submission, we recommended the Committee examine the work that the ‘Back the Bill’ campaign has already undertaken on this area and that the form the right to adequate housing takes in Wales is something for the Committee and the people of Wales to discuss. 

We included information on models of economic, social, and cultural rights incorporation from countries such as Argentina, Finland, Colombia, and Germany to give the Committee an idea of the scope of work that already exists and provided a comprehensive reading list for more information.

Background image by  Oreste Vinciguerra