Housing crisis in England 'threatens' public health
The scale of the housing crisis in England threatens to take public health ‘back to the 80s’, environmental health experts have warned.
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health said rising levels of homelessness, more families living in bed and breakfast accommodation, increasing private sector rents and a growing number of complaints about unscrupulous landlords are making an unwelcome return.
As local authorities reduce investment in enforcement activities, fewer inspections and fewer health investigations will take place, and many public health ‘victories’ will be lost, it warned.
It also said the introduction of a cap on housing benefit present new challenges for all those working in public health if there is an increase in winter cold deaths.
David Kidney, head of policy at the CIEH, said: ‘The CIEH has a number of serious concerns about the implications of the government’s short sighted approach to housing policy in this country.
‘Government cuts of around 90 per cent to the housing budget will affect some of the most vulnerable members of the community such as the elderly, single mothers and asylum seekers. Coupled with this, local authority cuts will curtail the ability of our members – environmental health practitioners – to police and regulate private rented sector. Many hard fought public health victories in housing are being abandoned because of a lack of resources.’