Housing sector

Inside Housing – Commentary – Housing sector set to be on war footing ahead of spending review

We also rely heavily on government support to subsidize new developments, and if we don’t get more government funding for firefighting and zero carbon, these issues will take a significant chunk of our balance sheets.

The political context is not very favorable either. Unlike health and education, social housing is an easy target. Most of the damage from the cuts is felt long after the short-term political cycle, and the people who end up losing (primarily the people who would have lived in the homes we would have built with additional resources) don’t always realize they are cheated by the government.

This government has a lot of bad manners in this regard. Over the last 10 years we have seen substantial cuts in subsidies, rents, social benefits and more recently subsidies via planning gain (thanks to the introduction of the first houses). All follow the cutting pattern now and worry about the consequences later.

There are also some tactical issues. Our sponsor department, the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government, is largely on the ‘unprotected’ list and its ministers may well need to use much of their political capital to avoid further cuts. in local government and to support affected tenants. by the fire safety crisis. These are the sorts of issues that can derail an ambitious politician with an eye on higher office – a point that will not be lost on Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.

In this context, I think the sector needs to be on something of a war footing as the spending review approaches. We need to make a strong case in government and an even stronger case in public.

We have convincing arguments. Ultimately, by limiting the life chances of the young, the poor and the vulnerable, our broken housing system is making us all worse – and that cannot be fixed without investing in affordable housing.

Nor is there any prospect of the UK meeting its climate change targets without massive investment in the existing housing stock.

After a grueling 15 months dealing with the coronavirus, it won’t be easy to muster the time and energy to fight a good spending review battle. But other sectors have already started to fight for their share of the pie.

If we don’t follow this example, we will be at even greater risk of having to face further cuts – at a time when the people we are here to serve need us more than ever.

Matthew Bailes, Managing Director, Paradigm Housing Group