24 Housing opinion piece on the general election by Nicholas Harris
Priorities for the new government
Whatever our political persuasion, yesterday we had the opportunity to make our voice heard in what was billed as a ‘once in a generation election’. For some, the result will be disappointing whilst others will no doubt be pleased with today’s outcome. I think what we can all agree on is the need to see an end to the extreme divisions and uncertainty that has dominated recent times.
I very much hope, we are entering a new phase of clarity, co-operation and unity. In our sector alone there is so much to focus on addressing – the huge challenge of delivering the vast number of homes this country so desperately needs will take vision, partnership and a real commitment from the new government.
We look forward to working with the new government at all levels, and with our local MPs, to help shape the detail of housing policy and be part of the solution to provide the affordable homes that are so badly needed, by so many.
What do housing associations need from government?
First, we need stability and certainty so that we can make long-term decisions that rely on long-term investment. Continued certainty over the rent settlement and grant availability for developing affordable housing are key. Second, clear guidance on new regulations for building and fire safety are needed as soon as possible. Third, to meet the challenge of building the number of new affordable homes that are needed we have to be able to demonstrate continued financial strength and attract new investment which supports our versatility, innovation and ambition as developers.
Investment in building affordable housing is a proven way of effectively supporting the UK economy over the long term, building much-needed homes, as well as safeguarding and creating jobs. More also needs to be done to help developers future-proof new homes to provide low-carbon heating, meet high standards of energy efficiency and ultimately deliver our carbon-neutral goals. All are essential to help customers who rent or buy an affordable home from us to manage their finances, while also addressing the environmental crisis facing us all.
As a sector we are open to new ways of working in challenging environments, we take pride in building long-term partnerships, we employ and house a large percentage of the population. We need government to work with us and listen to us to support new ideas and models. After all, government’s aims closely reflect Stonewater’s own vision of ensuring everyone has the opportunity to have a place that they can call home.
Nicholas Harris, chief executive at Stonewater
You can also read the article on the 24 Housing website