16 March 2022
Once again, the scarcity of funding makes itself felt in our survey results. 63 per cent of respondents in England are prioritising further cost savings as a ‘strategic’ move.
In light of any overarching government strategy for social housing, what strategic plans are you taking?
Across the UK, ESG priorities can be categorised as:
- Decarbonisation, or at least reducing carbon footprints as part of working towards net-zero carbon emission targets;
- Creating an ESG report and/or strategy; and
- Improving sustainability and energy efficiency, including adopting a ‘fabric-first’ approach to building design.
The average spend on achieving these priorities is £930,000, with overall responses ranging from £50,000 to £3m.
In Scotland, a key priority for 2022/23 is the building of new homes. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the UK, but Scotland has a target of constructing 110,000 affordable new homes over the next ten years. Funding does not extend to making existing homes warmer, greener and more energy efficient.
With plans to deliver 110,000 affordable homes over the next decade as part of the Housing to 2040 strategy, what are your development plans going forward?
Since 2008 – the year of the great financial crash – development plans across social housing generally were either frozen or abandoned.
But development is a risk area that attracts a lot of regulatory attention, so it’s encouraging that 87 per cent of respondents in Scotland are still building what they planned to, or even more.
Those plans could yet be derailed by ongoing issues with the supply chain, including rising costs and the scarcity of materials.
One answer to these challenges may lie with modular builds. Some RSLs already have projects well underway, with funding support from the Scottish government.
Because they receive larger grants for new housing, Scottish RSLs aren’t under as much pressure as registered providers of social housing in England are to diversify their income sources and this may explain why Scottish RSLs are more risk averse than their English counterparts. It may also explain why Scotland could be ahead of the rest of the UK for the first time when it comes to the mid-market. .
England and Wales v Scotland RSL comparison
Get more insight from our 2022 survey
Want to know more about how the social housing sector has fared over the last 12 months? Interested in what social housing organisations have got planned for the months ahead?
Read the next articles in this series for a snapshot of the health of the sector in 2022 below.
Contact us for support and advice
Our social housing specialists can help you and your board decide how to tackle the big governance challenges facing your organisation
Contact Keith Ward, our Head of Social Housing, to discuss your challenges.