This years’ Senedd election marks the end of a pivotal year. While Covid-19 has had a profound impact on jobs and businesses, it has also provided a devastating reminder of the well-being challenges we face as a country.

Taking place against the backdrop of a climate emergency, the pandemic has only served to highlight the need to rethink what we consider as economic success in Wales, and how we can all work together to address the issues that Covid-19 has exacerbated.

The success of the Welsh economy cannot be divorced from the wellbeing of our people and our communities.

We are calling for the next Welsh Government to invest £1.5bn to build 20,000 new social homes over the next five years, with every £1 invested by Government matched by housing associations.

Alongside this, a £4bn stimulus package bringing together public and private funding can drive the energy efficiency of social housing over the next 10 years.

Poverty in Wales remains consistently higher than the rest of the UK, with 420,000 working-age adults living in poverty, despite 60% living in households where at least one adult has a job.

Wales also has some of the oldest and least thermally efficient housing stock in the UK and Europe. Despite some progress, we still see 155,000 families living in fuel poverty, with poor quality homes costing the NHS in Wales £95m each year.

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We have a unique opportunity to define Wales’ path out of the challenges that the pandemic has posed, and the next Welsh Government must root its economic strategy not in remote economic terms such as GDP and GVA, but in the prosperity and health of future generations.

This Senedd term has seen record investment in housing. The most recent Welsh Budget saw £250m of investment in the Social Housing Grant, four times that of 2016, while £50m was allocated to the Optimised Retrofit Programme.

However, this level of investment should grow to give housing associations and local authorities the certainty they need to build at pace and scale to meet Wales’ housing need. Alongside this, the next Government must be serious about tackling the Climate Emergency and support the sector with the decarbonisation of existing homes.

Our Home manifesto for the next Welsh Government sets out our ideas for change, and we want to see a commitment to working together to take action.

The level of investment we are calling for would have huge benefits for the Welsh economy, providing a £6bn boost to communities across the country, creating 20,000 new jobs, and making a major contribution to Wales’ zero carbon commitments, while improving people’s health and wellbeing.

In a year gripped by a pandemic, we have been shown more than ever before how important it is to have a home that is safe, comfortable, and that suits our needs. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case for everyone, and existing inequalities have been exacerbated for people living in poor-quality housing. It’s clear that where we live has never been more important to how we live.

Investing in a home that is adaptable, connected, warm and safe makes a massive difference to health outcomes and to the economy as a whole – generating thousands of jobs, reducing pressure on the NHS, and contributing to a collective ambition to reduce the emissions of Welsh housing.

Now is the time for us all to work together for the benefit of Wales.