With just weeks to go before the Government’s Spending Review Announcement on 25th November, it is a nail biting time for anyone involved in public services.
Even though housing is in the news nearly every day, the focus is totally on quantity – stock quality and housing related services never get a mention. In fact if any of us dare to speak up and say that we shouldn’t just be building tiny new ‘starter’ homes but should also take the long view and create healthy, sustainable places to live at all ages and stages of life, we tend to be shot down in flames.
And as for commenting on the policy silence about disrepair of the current housing stock, pointing out that poor housing is costing the NHS at least £1.4bn every year, let alone the importance of adapting mainstream homes for an ageing population – beyond the pale.
So it is welcome news indeed that the head of Public Health England, Duncan Selbie, made a statement at the high profile PHE and Kings Fund conference on health and housing last week about the importance of housing quality to the nation’s health.
Let us hope that Department of Health also has housing on its radar and that we see some good news in the Spending Review about the continuation of help with home adaptations and support for the more visionary health sector partners who also want to address poor housing. [Oct 2015]