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    08 June, 2007

    Return to Housing

    I have spent the last week getting to grips with the Housing brief. I was delighted to be offered the opportunity by Rhodri to take on the challenge of delivering our manifesto commitments on affordable housing. Ten years ago I was a relatively new Board Member of Tai Cymru, the then Housing quango in Wales, and at the same time actively involved of course in the Yes for Wales referendum campaign. I produced a paper with Gareth Hughes, then of the Welsh Federation of Housing Associations (now known as Community Homes Cymru) and now of ITV Wales, arguing that savings could be found to liberate more funding for housing from the Government's proposal to abolish Tai Cymru as part of the devolution settlement. This got me into some trouble with the other Board Members!

    Twenty years ago I was the UK Campaign Director for the 1987 UN International Year of Shelter for the Homeless, campaigning for changes in housing policy and raising funds for innovative projects in the UK and overseas. I worked in that role from the end of 1984 until the end of 1987, helping to set up the charity and working closely with our President, the late Lord Scarman, and his deputy, one Ivor Richard, whom I was pleased to see again at the official opening of the Assembly this week.

    So it's good to be back and working in the field. Contrary to this report, I had a useful initial informal meeting with the Welsh Local Government Association at their conference this week. Housing is moving up the political agenda in Wales, and there is a great deal to be done. Rhodri mentioned our planned Legislative Competence Order in the Assembly this week, and I hope we will be able to take that forward shortly. I believe there are opportunities to work with AMs from other parties to advance the housing agenda, and I look forward to that.

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

    Author's editorial policy: This blog does not publish anonymous comments, unless they are really witty and I like them. If you have something to say, then have the courage of your convictions and use your name or an identifiable alias. Even then I reserve the right not to publish comments that are malicious, defamatory, stupid, pointlessly cynical or boring. Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.