The UK government published its Levelling Up White Paper. Our CEO, Gillian Charlesworth commented:
“We welcome the White Paper’s intention to improve people’s wellbeing and standards of living by enhancing the quality of the UK’s housing stock. We are pleased to see recognition of the links between the economy, health, and the built environment but we really need to see more detail on the measures required to deliver these outcomes.
“Local authorities will need clear support and direction if they are to deliver high quality housing within the community – but how in practice this can be achieved was missed by today’s paper. Many local authorities have already struggled as successive budget cuts have limited their capacity to focus on delivering the levelling up agenda. We hope to see further detail on the Government’s plans to support them with the skilled people, financial resources and data that they need.
“BRE’s recent report The Cost of Poor Housing in England’ concluded that hazards arising from poor quality homes in England are costing the NHS £1.4bn per year, and that rectifying these hazards would have multiple benefits for society as a whole, beyond those that just relate to the health of occupants and would pay for itself within the target dates for the Levelling Up programme. Addressing sub-standard housing will be crucial if we are to maximise the potential of local communities, reduce the burden on our public services, and truly level up the country.
“Another key area of opportunity missing from today’s White Paper is a clear and long-term plan for decarbonising our buildings and training the hundreds of thousands of retrofit workers needed to deliver net zero. Measures that support a clear and effective plan to improve the quality and sustainability of the UK’s housing stock should be at the forefront of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda – but today’s paper signals a missed opportunity to outline this.”