General Election 2024

We believe everyone in Wales deserves access to a safe and secure home. At the moment, we are facing a housing emergency in Wales and for too many people their daily reality is one of homelessness or inadequate housing.

1 in 4 people in Wales fear they will become homeless within a year.
Any of us could find ourselves impacted by the housing emergency, and already millions of people are either experiencing one or believe they are at risk of doing so.

11,692 people were in temporary accommodation in March 2024.
Recent years have seen a significant increase in the number of people who are trapped in temporary accommodation. Unfortunately, temporary accommodation is often far from temporary with people and families often spending extended periods in poor quality and inadequate accommodation like B&Bs.

Everyone has the right to a home.

Everyone has a part to play in the fight for home.

Our asks

Shelter Cymru is asking all parliamentary candidates in Wales to commit to:

1. Being a voice for people affected by the housing emergency in Wales and the UK.

  • Preventing homelessness requires a range of different policy areas to work together, from housing supply through to health and welfare. Some of these policy areas are devolved and responsibility rests with the Welsh Government, whilst others remain the remit of Westminster. Fundamentally this means that the UK and Welsh Governments have to work together to improve homelessness prevention and ensure that everyone in Wales has access to a safe and secure home.
  • People in Wales may turn to their local MP when faced with housing issues. We encourage all MPs in Wales to acknowledge the role that they can play in solving the housing emergency in Wales and the UK by supporting their constituents alongside their colleagues in the Senedd.

2. Campaigning to restore Local Housing Allowance (LHA) to cover the cheapest 50% of rents in Wales and the UK, so that people can afford a home.

  • Until Wales has enough genuinely affordable social homes, there must be adequate help for people to afford local private rents, otherwise homelessness is inevitable.
  • Rents across Wales have risen at record rates in recent years, but LHA was frozen from April 2020 to April 2024. During this time, the gap between what households had to pay for private rents and the financial help that they could get increased year on year.
  • In April 2024 this freeze ended, and rates did return to a level intended to cover the bottom 30% of rents. However, there is currently no clarity as to whether those rates will rise again in 2025.
  • The increase in April was also far from adequate to help many people in Wales struggling with the pressure of increasing rental costs. Data from the ONS shows that, during the time that the LHA was frozen, rents across Wales increased by around 23%. Yet the average uplift to LHA for Wales earlier this year was only 17%. It is not enough to help people in Wales struggling with the pressure of increasing rental costs.
  • The cost-of-living crisis has widened the impact of the housing emergency in Wales, and households from across the Private Rental Sector need support to avoid homelessness. Before 2011, the LHA was linked to the 50th percentile of rates. We support a return to this rate in Wales and the UK to ensure that people can afford a home.

3. Campaigning to abolish the Household Benefit Cap 

  • This cap limits the total amount of benefits that households can receive if they earn less than the equivalent of 16 hours at the National Living Wage. It drives up homelessness because it effectively deducts housing benefit, keeping households under constant pressure to make ends meet
  • The household benefit cap now affects 12,968 households in Wales. This hits vulnerable people hardest: it can leave people trapped in abusive relationships, unable to afford to move, and adds further pressure on people with caring responsibilities, who find it impossible to increase their working hours.
  • The cap ignores the size of the home that a family needs in order to avoid severe overcrowding and homelessness. So, households who are capped see dramatic shortfalls in their benefits, often leaving them with very little money to afford food and bills after their rent is paid. Almost all capped households with children now live in severe poverty.
  • Because social tenants are also affected, the cap can lead to homeless households failing social housing affordability checks, leaving them trapped in unsuitable temporary accommodation.

4. Campaigning to ensure access to legal aid for all those who need it.

  • Historic changes to the way legal aid is provided has resulted in most legal aid housing advice providers leaving the market in Wales.
  • Welsh Government has mitigated these changes to legal aid provision with advice funding of its own but not enough to meet the shortfall in provision. This makes it harder for people in crisis to access advice and understand the rights they have by Welsh Law.
  • An increase to the rates paid by the Legal Aid Agency would ensure that independent, good quality advice is available across Wales and prevent Wales from developing the “advice deserts” that exist elsewhere in the UK.

Will you join the fight for home?

As we enter the final week of the General Election, if a political party representative knocks on your door or if you see a post from a political party on social media, ask them to play their part in the fight for home.

You can also use your social media to voice a positive opinion about the issues highlighted above.

Following Shelter Cymru @Shelter Cymru, Facebook, LinkedIN, to stay up to date with all our campaigns – including those calling for change at Westminster or the Senedd.

See the links for information on the General Election from our sister organisations in Scotland and England.