13 May 2020: Response to housing update from Nick Harris

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Commenting on the series of ‘housing update’ announcements from Government this afternoon, CEO of Stonewater, Nick Harris, says:

“The Housing Minister’s detail and clarifications are welcome. The social housing sector has effectively been in limbo during lockdown, at a time when more than ever, homes are people’s sanctuaries. While the Minister’s focus was predominantly on the private sector, there are elements which are helpful to us – particularly around construction, the ending of the freeze on moving home and a renewed effort to protect rough sleepers.

The move to support more ‘virtual’ planning to help kick-start developments is interesting and certainly something Stonewater would be keen to engage with. We ourselves have moved to a digitally enabled, home-working approach for the majority of colleagues and believe technology offers many opportunities not just to circumnavigate ‘old’ ways of working but to drive innovation and improvement.

We also look forward to more detail on funding for local authorities and the social housing sector in particular. The pandemic has had a huge impact on many of the most vulnerable people in our society and they must not be marginalised further as we continue to try to manage the risks of COVID-19 on businesses, on individuals and on our communities.”