WLGA housing spokesman Aled Roberts said:
There is evidence of the effective working relationship between councils and housing associations across Wales with the£80m of the Assembly Government's Social Housing Grant for 2005/06 being fully committed on projects.
Chris O'Meara, chair of the Welsh Federation of Housing Associations said:
'We welcome this increase in spending on affordable homes. Housing associations have spent more than they were expected to in tackling the growing shortage. It's a reflection of our commitment to tackle the difficulties many individuals and communities face. It's also an indication of the growing partnership with local councils which help us deliver new homes and of the Assembly Government's confidence in our work. The Assembly Government has been trying to find more funds to spend on housing and we've shown that we can deliver more.
'Local councils and housing associations in Wales have not always found it easy to work together in the past, particularly over agreeing how shrinking funds for affordable homes should be spent. Both partners have been working hard to channel the communication problems of the past into better working and this agreement cements this growing partnership.'
Since 1989, local authorities are no longer able to develop new housing, with investment channelled via housing associations through a Social Housing Grant and private investment. However, local authorities are responsible for assessing housing need, for strategic planning, land use planning and the granting of planning permission. They are also responsible for making bids to the Assembly Government for Social Housing Grant.
This new partnership agreement between local government and the housing association sector will be further consolidated with the first joint conference for social landlords in Wales in November 2006.
A copy of the protocol is available here
--The Welsh Federation of Housing Associations is the representative body for all housing associations in Wales and its aim is to enable housing associations to work effectively and flourish in Wales.
--Housing associations are not-for-profit businesses run by boards of volunteers, spending millions of pounds investing in the communities where they have homes, providing services for tenants and residents inpartnership with a host of other organisations. They are independent from but regulated by the Welsh Assembly Government.
--Housing associations provide homes throughout Wales; including city centre apartments, brand new estates in the Valleys, refurbished suburban semi-detached homes and rural cottages.
--Homes built and provided by housing associations are developed to an exceptionally high standard established by the National Assembly and which exceeds structural standards for privately built houses. Like local authorities associations have to maintain their homes and ensure they meet the Assembly's Quality Standard by 2012. This means associations spend many millions more each year in repairing and improving their homes.