Right to housing to feature as ‘due regard’ duty in new bill

Written by Ross Thomas

Tai Pawb, together with its partners CIH Cymru, Shelter Cymru and Dr Simon Hoffman (Swansea University) has welcomed a government commitment to partly introduce ‘right to adequate housing’ into Welsh law.

Yesterday (November 19), Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James, confirmed to Assembly Members that the right to adequate housing will feature as a ‘due regard’ duty as she launched the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill.

Speaking in the Senedd, she said the duty will be written into the statutory guidance which will be given to local authorities if the bill becomes law.

Though a ‘due regard’ duty doesn’t include enforceable right to adequate housing for individuals, it will require local authorities to demonstrate that they have thought about the right to adequate housing as a central part of their policy and decision-making processes, a process which can be subject to court challenge. The aim of the ‘due regard’ duty is to drive positive change and focus more resource on housing.

CIH Cymru, Tai Pawb, and Shelter Cymru, together with Dr Simon Hoffman of Swansea University, have been campaigning for full incorporation of the Right and earlier this year published a feasibility study.

In a joint statement, all four organisations welcomed the Minister’s announcement:

“We’ve had some very positive discussions with Welsh Government over the proposal to incorporate the right to adequate housing into Welsh law.

“In light of our feasibility study and campaign, we welcome the Minister’s statement which is progress in the right direction.

“While not as effective as full incorporation, adopting a ‘due regard’ approach has the potential to drive positive change and act as a catalyst for further resources – hopefully leading to better outcomes for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

“We look forward to monitoring the progress of the bill and to participating in evidence stages.”