The main professional body for those working in the social housing sector has given a mixed response to the Government’s planned legislation programme for the next Parliamentary session.
In a briefing to its members the Chartered Institute of Housing said: “There is much to be positive about in the Queen’s Speech including the establishment of a new Building Safety Regulator and the commitment to enhance the rights of those who rent.” But it then went on to highlight a range of shortcomings.
“While the proposals for a tenancy reform package are good news, we will be pressing the Government not to delay bringing forward the end of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, which it already consulted on in July 2019.
“A firm commitment to a social housing bill was notably lacking and it is disappointing that measures to address the long-standing issue of social care funding and reform were not included. Decent housing also has an important role as a route to supporting social care reform.
“The heavy focus on home ownership, while unsurprising, is also disappointing when we know how pressing the need is for affordable homes across the country of all tenures (particularly homes at social rents). There was also a heavy emphasis in the speech on boosting housing numbers.”
The CIH recognises that building new homes is important, but it stresses the quality of new homes and neighbourhoods is as important and has a vital part to play in supporting healthy, independent living.
The briefing continued with “The planning bill will have significant implications for affordable housing providers and the provision of affordable housing given the proposal to replace S106 contributions with a new Levy, as we expressed in our consultation response to The Planning White Paper.
“CIH will continue to urge government to invest in social rented homes and to ensure that people on low incomes have the help with housing costs they need. We will also continue calling for government to take action to tackle the acute shortage of accessible homes and to require the principles of healthy homes and neighbourhoods in the planning and supply of new homes.”
By Patrick Mooney, Editor