It’s hard not to feel frustrated if you work in housing right now.

For the last couple of years housing has been grappling with the triple threat of long-term investment, fire safety remediation work and the need for significant carbon reduction interventions.

Inflation and Brexit have conspired to drive costs up dramatically, so that both planned works and day-to-day repairs are now often way beyond the budget parameters set this time last year.  

And of course, all of this is before we even get to the cost of living crisis which threatens to push millions in to poverty and is set to see bad debt spike for housing providers in all parts of the country.

Soaring energy costs are at the heart of the cost of living crisis, and many of us hoped that when the Chancellor took to the despatch box to set out his intentions, we would see a bold intervention to get to grips with this crisis.

In fact, the Spring Statement was disappointing, nothing at the retail end to deal with the energy costs emergency so many households are facing here and now, and very little at the investment end to help change the way that consumers access energy.

It was a missed opportunity. 

The importance of acting now to fast track carbon reduction and energy efficiency measures can never have been more obvious or urgent. It matters for social housing customers who will see their income squeezed like never before, and it matters for registered providers who will need to spend more on tenancy sustainment while seeing their income streams threatened.

We’re used to hard choices in housing. But it seems like the current political and economic outlook will only make these choices harder. It used to be about balancing investment and existing stock and building the homes of the future. 

It feels much more existential now.

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