Sunday, 19 April 2015

HCA outlines work still left to do as mayor considers a programme for London

£3.2 billion needed to make all homes decent

Social landlords will need to spend another £3.2 billion to make all of their housing stock decent.

Sir Bob Kerslake, chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency, revealed the full scale of the challenge as it emerged London mayor Boris Johnson could develop a ‘beyond decent homes’ standard for social homes in London.

Currently there are still 397,000 non-decent council properties and a further 182,000 homes owned by other social landlords in England. The figure represents approximately 14 per cent of the overall English social housing stock.

Sir Bob revealed the figures at the Northern Housing Summit for landlords and procurement consortia last week. ‘To finish the job wll require something like £3.2 billion,’ he stated.

Sir Bob said planned reforms of the housing subsidy system could help councils that have already made their homes decent maintain them into the future. But he said councils that still had substantial numbers of non-decent homes would need more help.

‘I think they need direct government funding to move them forward,’ he stated. ‘There is still quite a big and quite a long tail to deliver here.’

Sir Bob added that procurement consortia would have a big role to play in helping the HCA make a case to government for more money for the programme.

‘In making that argument [for funding] we are in a much stronger place if we can be clear we are getting absolutely top value out of the resources available,’ Sir Bob added.

The London mayor’s office is working with environmental charity the Centre for Sustainable Energy on a new standard for the city’s stock, which it is discussing with the government ahead of October’s comprehensive spending review.

The new standard is likely to focus on energy efficiency. A source close to the discussions said social landlords would probably be expected to bring their stock up to the standard as part of their normal programme of repairs and maintenance rather than as a standalone project.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said all options were currently under consideration.

Martin Holley, senior technical project manager for the CSE, said: ‘The ultimate end result of this valuable piece of work should be an improvement in the quality of life for people living in London’s social rented sector.’

Decent homes in figures

£3.2 billion
value of outstanding decent homes work

397,000
non-decent council properties

182,000
other non-decent social homes

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