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20.09.17

‘Fundamental rethink’ on social housing needed as Javid brings forward green paper

A wide-ranging, top-to-bottom green paper on social housing is to be brought forward by the government, Sajid Javid has this week announced.

Speaking at the National Housing Federation conference yesterday, the communities secretary vowed to return to a time “when social housing was valued” through the completion of the green paper.

Unsurprisingly, Javid also made reference to the Grenfell Tower disaster and said that the paper would address safety concerns in high rises, but also go “much further than that”.

“While I don’t want to pre-judge the findings of the public or police inquiries, it’s clear that in the months and the years before the fire the residents of Grenfell Tower were not listened to,” the communities secretary said.

“Their concerns were ignored or dismissed, as too many people in positions of power see tenants less as people with families and more as problems that needed to be managed.”

He also said that a “fundamental rethink” of social housing was required, and that a nationwide conversation on social housing was necessary to improve the quality of council and housing association managed flats.

“A wide-ranging, top-to-bottom review of the issues facing the sector, the green paper will be the most substantial report of its kind for a generation,” Javid continued.

“The results will help everyone involved in the whole world of social housing: local and central government, housing associations, TMOs, and of course the tenants themselves, to make this country’s social housing provision something the whole nation can be proud of.”

Councils reacted positively to the news, saying that they had long called for more powers to build high-quality, affordable homes, and that they were encouraged by Javid’s decision to bring forward the green paper.

Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s housing spokesman, stated: “With huge pressure on existing housing stock caused by the lack of building enough homes over the past few decades, and with families having to spend more on rent or mortgages every month, we are keen to work with government to ensure that the green paper accelerates the actual building of new homes communities can afford.

“The last time the country built enough homes councils built 40% of them. Our offer is pretty clear, give councils to powers to lead a renaissance in council house building by letting us keep 100% of the sales receipts, and give us the freedoms to borrow to invest and to set rents.”

Top Image: David Mirzoeff

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