A lack of effective and sustained government action and funding is partly to blame for a crisis in the quality of England’s homes, according to a new report commissioned to inform the Good Home Inquiry and written by the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence. The report, Past, present and future: housing policy and poor-quality homes, finds that while the government has a crucial role in protecting the nation’s housing stock, dramatic funding cuts and failure to act have left England’s homes crumbling.
Today, an estimated ten million people in England are at risk because they live in a home which doesn’t meet basic standards, with the majority of these homes posing a serious risk to their inhabitants’ health or safety. Previous research by the Centre for Ageing Better and the King’s Fund highlighted the link between poor-quality housing and COVID-19, with those who are most at risk of the disease more likely to be living in non-decent homes.
Despite the scale of the problem, the national framework for tackling the problem of poor-quality housing has fallen into disrepair. Funding has been cut, interventions have been withdrawn, advice and guidance is often hard to find, and enforcement of statutory duties has faltered.
In 2020, the Centre for Ageing Better launched the Good Home Inquiry, an evidence-based analysis of England’s housing policies to determine the causes of and solutions to the problem of poor-quality housing.
This study is one of a number commissioned by Ageing Better to support the work of the Inquiry. It set out to answer three key questions:
- What housing policies and programmes have been implemented in the past to address poor-quality housing, and which were successful and why?
- What policies would be most effective in addressing the poor-quality of our current housing stock, given political, economic and social considerations?
- For a small number of shortlisted policies, how much would this cost, who would have to pay, what would the impact be?