Hunt and Johnson accused of not supporting social housing

Leading sector specialist says both candidates lack commitment to the cause.

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Both Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson are accused of not showing the social housing sector the support it is “crying out for”.

Keith Ward, head of social housing with RSM, said that lack of support was evident in last night’s leadership debate (9th July), when social housing was not discussed.

RSM’s specialist social housing group comprises works closely with a range of clients, including housing associations and ALMOs, to provide audit and advisory services to more than 150 registered providers.

 “The sector is crying out for support to build new homes – whether that’s unlocking the supply of land or commitment to investment – to ensure the sector successfully navigates the current uncertainties,” Ward said.

“Before the 29th March, many providers stockpiled certain materials, such as timber frames, to ensure that current building work would not be impacted by any Brexit delays.

“However, as we approach the extension deadline of 31st October, it seems that social housing organisations are not taking the same approach, which could be due to Brexit fatigue.”

Ward continued: “If any delays do occur, we could see a slowdown in much-needed house production – impacting future provision and making achieving new-build housing targets an uphill struggle.

“In addition, following the tragedy of Grenfell and the resulting independent Hackitt Report, social housing organisations are reviewing and replacing certain cladding on properties.

“Despite the government allocating £200m to cover the cost, social housing organisations are still struggling to afford the necessary changes – often having to divert financial resources from other priority projects, putting further pressure on the fiscal position of the sector.

“So investment commitment, or at least a comment, from the next leader would be welcomed,” he said.

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