Welcome to the thirteenth edition of health of the sector, our annual look at the impact of changing economic and regulatory conditions on the social housing sector.
The sector is, by now, used to operating in an environment of constant change. But even by usual standards, 2019 and the start of 2020 has been impressive.
Britain has left the European Union. We have the tenth housing minister in a decade. We have a Government that has vocally supported home ownership but has said little about the role of social housing in helping to solve the housing crisis.
Some things though don’t change: the roll-out of Universal Credit has been further delayed and the Green Paper is still in draft..
Against this backdrop the sector has again demonstrated its remarkable resilience. There are ambitious development plans and, largely, it’s business as usual.
More than 80 per cent of respondents said they won’t allow a lack of stated Government policy to affect their current development programmes, and 6 per cent even said they’ll increase them.
There is a disquiet though as to what Government policy will be, uncertainty as to what post-Brexit Britain will look like for materials, for staff, for tenants, and what the funding landscape will look like, which is reflected in a much-reduced commitment to development plans in the long term.
Nine out of ten respondents said the size of future development programmes will depend on access to additional Government funding. The same number are concerned that the constant changing of the housing minister in England and Wales demonstrates a real lack of commitment by the Government to the long-term structural and strategic needs of the sector.
In Scotland, although a consultation has been issued by the Government on Housing 2040, a clear direction of travel has not yet been set. And while housing is a devolved issue in Scotland, clarity for the future is still a key request.
Download the report to read about latest attitudes towards rent rises, modular builds, mergers, welfare reforms, fraud, and more.