Christopher Pincher has pitched the social housing sector as a “very important” component of the ‘levelling-up’ agenda.
Speaking at Day Two of the annual HOMES UK conference in London, where he took the stage to a round of applause, the Housing minister seemed determined to promote the role of social housing providers in delivering the government’s goal of improving housing quality and ameliorating regional inequalities.
He said: “It’s you in the social housing sector who are indispensable in making levelling-up a shared reality for all our communities in the United Kingdom.”
Focus on social housing
In contrast to recent conference addresses, the Housing minister was keen to focus on social housing.
From levelling-up to building safety and net-zero, Pincher pitched the sector as a key part of the government’s strategy.
On retrofitting and impact of COP26, he said: “The only way to wean our homes off fossil fuels is to retrofit them with new green systems.”
He added that social housing has “clearly has a very significant role to play” in retrofitting and the decarbonisation of housing stock, and that the DLUHC (department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities) is “backing the sector in every way we can”.
On building safety, Pincher highlighted how 100% of unsafe ACM-clad buildings in the social sector have now been remediated.
He added: “Our goal is simple: to create the strongest most robust building safety regime in the world.”
The Housing minister also spoke of the stigma sometimes felt by tenants, saying: “No one should be stigmatised because they live in social housing.”
On tenant engagement and landlord accountability, he said: “We want residents to have a stronger voice and a clearer route to raising concerns.”
He added that the sector “can go much further and much faster” in improving the next generation of social housing.
Speaking more broadly, Pincher said he wanted to continue diversifying the housing market, “to take us to touching distance of the 300,000 we need each year by the middle of the decade.”
He added: “I want us to harness that spirit of levelling up, that momentum, as we recover from the pandemic and move to a better and brighter future…a future where everyone can live somewhere that is decent and safe and secure.”
Pincher’s address follows his appearance at the annual Housing conference in Manchester earlier in the year, where both he and then Housing secretary Robert Jenrick delivered their addresses via video link.
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