On 28th February the Welsh Government published its final budget for 2023/24. We were incredibly disappointed that the Housing Support Grant has not been increased.
We have been collecting evidence over the last few months that indicates that:
- Approximately 29% of HSG funded staff are paid below the new National Living Wage and Real Living Wage
- One support provider told us it will cost them an additional £500,000 to pay their staff the RLW in the 2023/24. Another told us that it would cost them in excess of £1million.
- 93% of service providers are extremely or very concerned about their ability to continue delivering services if there is no increase to the HSG
- 18% of frontline workers are struggling to pay their rent
- 56% are struggling to pay their bills
- 46% of frontline workers we surveyed said they spent 76-100% of their wage on essential living costs. A shocking 14% said their wage does not cover all of their essential living costs
The Finance Minister’s written statement makes reference to the UK Government’s plans for a Spring Statement on 15th March. The Minister says she will provide an update on forecasts and any funding consequentials for Wales, following the Spring Statement.
Our view is the Housing Support Grant must received an increase of at least 10% to enable services to continue at current capacity if there are any funding consequentials arising from the Spring Statement.
Cymorth Director Katie Dalton said:
“We are incredibly disappointed that the Welsh Government has not increased the Housing Support Grant in its final budget for 2023/24.
“Over the past few months we have provided significant evidence of the funding crisis facing homelessness and housing support services, including the shortfall between current wages and the new National Living Wage, never mind the Real Living Wage.
“Services are under unprecedented pressure and the lack of additional funding means that some may be unable to continue delivering services, potentially leaving people experiencing or at risk of homeless without vital support.
“Should there be any additional funding from the UK Government’s Spring Statement, we urge Welsh Ministers to ensure that the Housing Support Grant is prioritised.”