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Rishi’s Green U-turn slated by Welsh housing minister in Senedd

Welsh Housing Minister Julie James has warned that Rishi Sunak’s green U-turn means many tenants will continue to rent draughty, inefficient homes and face high energy bills for years to come.

Speaking in the Senedd, James said delaying the 2028 requirement for all private rental properties to meet EPC band C would also lose Wales the opportunity to drive more green jobs into the local economy.

“We were hoping that to go alongside the EPC C requirement would come an investment strategy, because one of the other things we have to guard against is that people don’t come out of the PRS altogether because they can’t afford the upgrade,” she told MPs.


Leasing scheme

“So, we’re already doing things like our private rented sector leasing scheme.”

She encouraged more landlords to join this scheme and get help upgrading their properties.

“You will get the standard Local Housing Allowance rent all the way through with no voids, no exceptions, no difficulty and no hassle. And at the end you will get a better-quality house.”

James added that despite relying on the UK government’s strategy to bring an associated investment programme, the Welsh government hoped to extend its Warm Homes programme to the PRS.

Read more about Welsh housing policy.

“We’re looking at doing whole streets and communities, and some of those will be PRS.I am hoping we’ll be able to make some inroads, but it isn’t the same as having a central government investment scheme.”

Even Sunak’s promised extra cash for grants under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme was criticised by James who said it primarily benefitted the better off, and those able to fund the upfront costs associated with replacing their heating systems.

“A social tariff for energy would have been far more welcome, more effective and very much more efficient.”


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