Back the Bill campaign launches major research into right to housing in Wales

logo with a housing and text inside saying back the bill the right to a good home in wales

Three leading housing organisations in Wales have launched a major research project into the social and economic impact of introducing the right to adequate housing in Wales.

Tai Pawb, Shelter Cymru and the Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru – under the collective umbrella of the ‘Back the Bill campaign’ – have commissioned Alma Economics to undertake the research. Alma Economics is an expert independent research organisation, specialising in economic and cost-benefit modelling across a range of social policy areas, including housing and homelessness.

The ‘Back the Bill campaign’ seeks to incorporate the right to adequate housing into Welsh law, as outlined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The call for incorporation was boosted last year by the publication of a Draft Bill, which attracted signatories from housing, elected representatives and commissioners, academia, the charity and third sectors. Supporters believe that, at the core of any solution to the housing crisis, is a national commitment to the fundamental principle that every one of us should have a human right – underpinned by law – to access adequate and sustainable housing. In 2019, the campaign published a feasibility report, authored by Professor Simon Hoffman, which demonstrated the route map to achieving a legal right to housing in Wales.

The aim of the current cost-benefit research is to obtain a robust analysis of the social and economic cost of inadequate housing and homelessness in Wales and set this against the potential costs and benefits which the legal right would bring to society and the economy. The research will also analyse international comparisons, by looking at case studies of countries where right to housing is guaranteed in law.

The directors of the three organisations, Matt Dicks (CIH Cymru), Alicja Zalesinska (Tai Pawb), and Ruth Power (Shelter Cymru), said:

We all know that a good home is at the very core of our wellbeing and that poor housing and homelessness cause enormous human suffering as well as costing millions to the public purse. This comprehensive research will help us answer some key questions, not least how the right to adequate housing could help us change the status quo and what the costs and benefits of achieving it would be. We look forward to working in partnership with Alma Economics, Welsh Government and all other stakeholders to move the debate forward, using the outcome of the research to fundamentally help address Wales’ housing crisis.

Managing Director of Alma Economics, Nick Spyropoulos, said:

We are very pleased to be working with CIH Cymru, Tai Pawb and Shelter Cymru to understand the international and domestic evidence base on options for introducing the right to adequate housing for people in Wales. We will make the best possible use of this evidence to assess options for improving wellbeing, health and environmental outcomes against the value for money they can deliver.