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30.01.14

Poor housing leads to high health costs

Minor housing improvements for ethnic minorities can have a significant positive impact on health and wellbeing, as well as cutting wider costs, a new study suggests.

Research by the BRE and the Race Equality Foundation analysed Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) information using data from the English House Survey between 2009 and 2011.

The report found that England’s 2.2 ethnic minority households were more likely to rent, or to live in older, poorer quality housing than white residents. Around 15% live in housing with one of the most serious HHSRS hazards.

Without simple improvements, such as handrails, better security and basic energy efficiency measures, the cost to the NHS of such poor housing is around £52m per year.

Jabeer Butt, deputy chief executive of the Race Equality Foundation said: “If we take into account other factors such as consequent reduced educational achievement, lost income, higher insurance premiums and higher policing and emergency services, the full cost to society is estimated to be some £129m per year – this is very significant and something we need to address.”

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