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New BRE Trust report shows poor quality homes in England cost the NHS £1.4bn per year, and wider society £18.6bn

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Research from BRE reveals the £18.6 billion cost of leaving poor quality housing in England unimproved. Although we’ve largely eradicated the diseases associated with the slums of Victorian Britain, there remain a significant number of health and safety hazards in many homes.  This is compounded by the fact that the UK has some of the oldest housing stock in the developed world.

4_fb81_165pxThe cost to the NHS from injuries and illness directly attributable to homes in poor condition is calculated to be £1.4bn per year, and the wider cost to society (including medical costs, lost education and employment opportunities) of leaving England’s poor housing unimproved is £18.6 billion.

The report, The full cost of poor housing, is based on a research project funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government and the BRE Trust and updates an earlier report The real cost of poor housing, published in 2010.  The original report introduced a model to calculate the costs and benefits associated with the main building-related hazards found in homes in England.  The new report expands on this, using the latest published data on health and safety hazards in the home and updated NHS treatment costs.  It also now takes into account the rising cost of NHS treatment and the benefits of Quality Adjusted Life Years.

Lead author Mike Roys stated “The revised model expands the costs to the NHS to include wider societal costs such as medical costs, lost education and employment opportunities.”  The definition of poor housing has been further expanded to include all sub-standard housing, not just those with serious hazards.

Dr Ann Marie Connolly, Deputy Director, Health Equity and Mental Health at Public Health England said: “We welcome this report which adds to existing evidence and our wider understanding of the link between poor housing, demands on NHS care and associated social costs.  We hope this report will stimulate wider discussions and local action to address the important role that good housing plays in underpinning the health and wellbeing of the people of England.”

The report has been published by IHS/BRE Press and can be purchased from the BRE Bookshop:

Report lead author Mike Roys explains the research findings in this BRE video:

BRE_ResearchInts_MikeRoys2 from BRE on Vimeo.
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Press contact; Peter White, BRE  E [email protected], T 0333321 8811

Note for editor

About BRE:
We are a world leading building science centre and the authority on all aspects of the built environment. We generate new knowledge through research that is used to create products, tools and standards that drive positive change across the built environment. We enable our government and private sector clients to meet the environmental, social and economic challenges they face by delivering higher performing, better quality, safer, more secure and more sustainable products homes, buildings and communities. We are owned by the BRE Trust, a registered charity, which funds research and education that advances knowledge of the built environment.  We are committed to building a better world together. We are BRE.