Hopeless and Powerless: Platfform’s response to the Finance Committee’s consultation on the Welsh Government Draft Budget 2024-25.

In over 30 years of delivering homelessness and housing services in Wales, we have never submitted a committee response like this one. We need to bear witness to the pain of the people we support, and the colleagues providing that support. And we need to find hope together.

It is clear to us that many Members across the Senedd will share our sense of anguish about the approaching budget. Nobody came into politics, certainly not in Wales, to watch our public services collapse.

For this budget, we want the committee to understand how different this feels. We know that funds are stretched. We have compassion for all involved in these difficult and challenging decisions. At the same time, it is important we bear witness to the pain of the people we support, and our colleagues that provide that support.

This budget will, more than many others, risk breaking many organisations across the third sector. It will, without an increase in funding, put added pressure on already strained and collapsing statutory services.

Our short-term recommendations, in brief:

  • Provide an urgent, inflation-beating uplift in the Housing Support Grant
  • Establish, for supported accommodation, an equivalent to the safe staffing level for nursing
  • Recognise housing and homelessness provision as a core provision
  • Ensure a minimum commissioned salary level for local authority, health boards and other services.

Our long-term recommendations, in brief:

  • Shift public services towards a social determinant led approach, working with ACE Hub and Trauma Informed Wales
  • Learn from the cost-saving effects of meeting needs early, and recognised the value preventative work in communities that comes from the third sector
  • Provide a greater focus on community-embedded services to meet the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act
  • Begin urgent work to devolve welfare and criminal justice systems, currently a barrier to progress in Wales

Our full recommendations, with supporting detail, can be found in our full response to the Finance Committee (linked below). There are also case studies from front-line colleagues who explain the reality of their work in frank detail. It is their words, and those of the people they support, that need to be front and center in these discussions.

The answers in how to meet this challenge are in taking a step change in approach. Only by making the significant changes we outlined here will we be able to limit the harm the budget cuts will cause.

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