Housing sector

The CIH produces a second cost of living crisis briefing for the housing sector

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) publishes a series of newsletters provide an up-to-date summary of the latest research and data on how the cost of living crisis is affecting housing and social housing tenants.

The first bulletin, launched in June 2022, looked at how the crisis is developing and why, the effects on household bills, the help provided by the government and evidence of how the crisis is affecting social tenants.

The second bulletin, released today, details the impact of the cost of living crisis on social housing tenants and the reaction of housing providers. This issue provides the industry with an easy-to-read summary of the latest research and data, with tenant case studies and insight into how the industry is responding.

Here are some highlights from the latest CIH COL newsletter:

  • UK inflation hit a new 40-year high of 9.4%. Housing and energy costs have increased by 19.6% since June 2021 (ONS)
  • 4.4 million households – one in six – are now estimated to be in “serious financial difficulty” (Financial Fairness Trust)
  • Inflation is highest in the UK’s poorest cities, with a clear north-south divide (Centre for Cities)
  • Demographics are affected differently. Single female and BAME households face 50% higher costs than their male and white counterparts (respectively) as part of their income (New Economics Foundation)
  • The Chancellor’s support package, while welcome to tackle rising energy costs, does not go far enough – 2.3 million households have already gone without heat and food. Public debt deductions exacerbate the problem.
  • Social Housing Provider Case Studies Riverside, Grand Union, L&Q, Midland Heart [possibly Karbon] and Newydd (Wales) highlight some of the ways the sector is responding to help.

In the briefing, the CIH calls on the government to provide sufficient support for housing costs and to reinstate a £20 increase for Universal Credit claimants, to advance investment on net zero with long-term plans to tackle energy inefficient homes and invest in a long-term strategy to end homelessness, provide good quality temporary accommodation and invest in supported housing.

The CIH is also asking for an increase in subsidy levels to provide housing at the social rents we need each year.

The next briefing, due out in September, will look at how benefit changes have reduced the help available and what additional government support is needed.

Rachael Williamson, Head of Policy and External Affairs at CIH, said: “The cost of living crisis is having a huge effect on society, with social housing tenants being among the hardest hit. Our goal in creating this cost of living series is to provide a succinct and insightful summary of the latest research and statistics, as well as the voice of residents and the response of the sector. We hope you will find this briefing useful in clarifying your understanding.