07 Jan 2022
As we look ahead to what 2022 holds for the housing sector, we have some key milestones to build a framework around. Nick Atkin, Chief Exec of Yorkshire Housing, has written for Inside Housing about some of the challenges. Here are my thoughts as the new head of policy and external affairs at CIH.
Rising living costs, as highlighted recently by the Resolution Foundation’s Q4 Housing Outlook, are already leading many to refer to 2022 as the ‘year of the squeeze’. The challenges of fuel, food and furniture poverty will need to be managed alongside that of future proofing people’s homes (as well as future rent policy). Further government investment (and indeed welfare reform) is needed to address this if we are going to get serious about ‘levelling up’. The much-anticipated White Paper will, we hope, be published later this month and provide the policy interventions needed to improve opportunities across the country as we recover from the pandemic. Housing, in its widest sense, should have a central role to play in any meaningful delivery of this agenda – hopefully its role within the Adult Social Care White Paper is a positive sign.
The implementation of the Social Housing White Paper will generate much activity over the coming months as we move from aspiration to reality, with inquiries, consultations and working groups underway on social housing regulation, tenant satisfaction measures, professionalism etc. Let’s hope that legislation will be brought forward in time to fully realise the ambitions set out within it; the current political set-up makes for a rather uncertain road ahead. In the meantime, there is much the sector can be doing to prepare - the Regulator for Social Housing (and indeed recent media reports) has made it clear that people shouldn’t wait. We’ve published a number of blogs and articles to help members unpack what’s involved which you can find on our website.
Regulation – current and planned – will continue to dominate much of our thinking. The Building Safety Bill will shortly move to the House of Lords for review before, we assume, receiving Royal Assent. Government has committed to publishing a White Paper on reforms to the Private Rented Sector at some point in 2022. The recent NAO report provides a timely reminder of why this is needed. A re-balancing of the regulatory framework to ensure an equitable approach, irrespective of tenure, is long overdue.
We have some great opportunities to make lasting change that will have implications for years to come – whether that’s through helping to shape the next steps to Everyone In or developing our thinking around the future home. As the professional body for housing, our mission at CIH is to support housing professionals to create a future in which everyone has a place to call home. We look forward to working with members and partners over the coming year to provide a strong independent voice for the sector and to be the ‘critical friend’ to those developing and delivering policy.