News from an NHF backed survey that 13,000 affordable homes will not be built owing to the impact of rising building safety costs, will be of no surprise to people working in housing.

The October survey demonstrates that homes for social rent will be hit the hardest as these are least likely to receive grant subsidy and are funded from RPs own income streams.

It seems ironic indeed that this will be presided over by the newly renamed Department for Levelling Up. 

Over the past four years, the sector has faced the perfect storm of fire safety costs, long-term investment needs, and funding carbon net-zero requirements which now stand to total more than £36bn, and at the same time is still expected to deliver badly needed new stock.

The former Secretary of State for then named MHCLG, Robert Jenrick, was almost gleeful in his determination to squarely blame housing associations for disrepair challenges that are increasingly evident in every corner of the UK. This is despite the mounting bills that many housing associations are struggling with, and the long-term underfunding of the sector that has only accelerated in the last decade.

The Government has remained stubbornly opposed to support for housing associations receiving support for the cost of fire safety remediation and has done little to force developers to put their mistakes right, and absolutely nothing to call manufacturers to account for their role in the current fire safety mess the UK finds itself in.

So much for levelling up – it now seems that new social rent stock is to be sacrificed to fund repairs to older stock. And the people who suffer most are those most in need of safe and secure affordable housing.

There is a solution: adopting building remediation into the national infrastructure plan to tackle fire safety and carbon reduction would create jobs, accelerate delivery and demonstrate a practical commitment to levelling up that really will make a difference to people’s lives long term. 

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