Javid announces social housing review

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has announced that the government will publish a green paper to review ‘what has gone wrong with social housing’ – including lessons to be learnt from the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Speaking at the National Housing Federation’s annual conference, Javid said: “We will be bringing forward a green paper on social housing in England. A wide-ranging, top to bottom review of the issues facing the sector.

“It will kick off a nationwide conversation on what has gone wrong with social housing, why it has gone wrong and – most importantly, how to fix it.”

The legacy of Grenfell can and must be a whole new approach to the way this country thinks about social housing

Green papers represent a first step towards major policy change. The government claims it will be the most substantial report of its kind for a generation, covering issues such as quality and safety among others.

“It will look at the overall quality of social homes, many of which are now beginning to show their age,” Javid continued. “It will cover service management, the way social homes and their tenants are taken care of. It will look at the rights of tenants and show how their voices can be better heard.

“While I don’t want to prejudge 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 – that their concerns were ignored or dismissed, that too many people in positions of power saw tenants less as people with families and more as problems that needed to be managed.

Grenfell legacy

“The legacy of Grenfell, the lessons that we learn, the changes that we make, none of that should be confined to fire safety. The legacy of Grenfell can and must be a whole new approach to the way this country thinks about social housing.”

Responding to the proposed green paper, Grant Lipton, director and co-founder of Great Marlborough Estates, said: “Building more social housing would provide greater security for those in need of homes, but would also provide the exchequer with vital long term income.

“Public bodies like the NHS and the Met own great swathes of land - land that we could use for social housing. This could vastly reduce the housing benefit bill or, at the very least, ensure more of it is paid back to government. It makes sense for ministers to invest in housing that will generate ongoing returns for taxpayers, recycling money for ongoing development.

“By taking a more commercially-minded approach to social housing - which will involve borrowing and investing - significant benefits could be created.”

‘We need to return to a pride in social housing’ @sajidjavid Good news-I hope it happens but lots of us never lost it @natfedDavid #natfed17

— Barbara Spicer (@BarbaraSpicer15) September 19, 2017

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