Having initially been planned for July, Sajid Javid MP took centre stage at the National Housing Federation Conference this week to announce the Social Housing Green Paper.
The announcement was delayed after the Grenfell tragedy. Of which; one thing Javid emphasised is that the green paper will look at safety issues, following on from the tragedy.
‘But it will need to go much further’ he proclaimed. Stating that the quality of social homes must be reassessed, as well as ensuring a coherent system whereby tenants are better taken care of and their voices better heard Chan Kataria, Chief Executive of EMH, called for all stakeholders to have their voices heard to so the bigger picture is captured in its entirety. Javid went one step further, stating that ‘we need to hear from everyone with something to say’ – even those working for think-tanks and lobbyists.
David Montague, Chief Executive of L&Q, has described the potential of a ‘top-to-bottom review’ as ‘brilliant news’, with Sajid Javid stating that issues including ‘place, community and the local economy’ will be examined. In his speech, he reminisced to a time when Harold Macmillan – Housing Minister under Churchill – ensured Britain built 300,000 houses a year, many of which today, would be classified as social homes. Taking this opportunity he reaffirmed his, and Prime Minister May’s ambition to restore faith in the government’s ability to fulfil social housing needs – much like Macmillan did in 1951.
Whilst the lessons that must be learnt from Grenfell were rightfully prominent in the speech, there is no doubt that other issues must be addressed too. Javid said that the paper would look at tackling homelessness and exploring what support is necessary for leaseholders who have a social landlord as well as tackling the ongoing issue of illegal sub-letting.
We will still have to wait for the publication however, with Javid adding that the green paper would not be rushed, although he is keen for it to be published as soon as possible.