EDAROTH calls for social housing to be top of agenda

EDAROTH managing director Mark Powell

Social homes provider EDAROTH (a wholly owned subsidiary of Atkins) has called on the latest housing minister to apply renewed urgency to the issue of social housing provision in the UK, or risk more tenant evictions and hardship for people not on the housing ladder.

Mark Powell, managing director at EDAROTH, made the comments on the eve of the Conservative Party conference and said social housing had to be top of the agenda for the new government.

Powell said: “The new housing minister Lee Rowley MP, needs to act fast to unlock the potential in brownfield sites for social housing development, in order to tackle both the energy and housing crises.

“We know the prime minister is keen to promote the Right to Buy policy, but for those who have to financially fight to buy, it is not a realistic aspiration. In fact there is a severe lack of social housing stock, due to Right to Buy, which urgently needs replenishing as demand rises exponentially.

“As the bottom rung of the housing ladder rises further out of reach, it’s public sector workers such as nurses and hospital workers - the heroes of our Covid-19 response – who are now in need of affordable social housing, but the provision is not there.”

EDAROTH provides affordable housing using modern methods of construction (MMC) on brownfield and under-utilised sites which are not normally favoured by traditional developers.

The use of MMC not only makes homes more affordable, but they are also energy efficient and can be delivered much more quickly as the off-site manufacturing process is more efficient.

Powell said: “The government under the leadership of the new prime minister Liz Truss needs to understand this crisis is beyond the cost of living. For too many people it’s simply about having somewhere affordable to live, a permanent roof over their heads - somewhere safe they can actually call ‘home’. The wider social value of a shift like this is enormous if our leaders have the courage to tackle it.

“We are facing a perfect storm of spiralling energy costs, unaffordable rents and the threat of recession and collapsing mortgage market, which are combining to create the worst possible conditions for families in the UK today.

“Added to this is the fact that we are not meeting our targets on social housing provision, but at the same time the need has never been more acute, and it’s a situation that will only get worse. 

“The use of MMC in partnership with housing associations can deliver affordable homes which are energy efficient, so will not only be more sustainable but enable residents to cut energy consumption.”

Waiting lists for housing across England are around 1.6million and homelessness charity Crisis estimates a 168% rise in evictions due to the cost of living crisis.

In addition, according to a House of Commons report published in February this year, there were 96,060 households living in temporary accommodation at the end of September 2021 across England.

Powell said: “Analysis of local authority expenditure between 2020 and 2021 revealed at least £1.4bn was spent on temporary accommodation.

“There is a solution, it’s right under our feet, but we need government and local authorities to unlock access to the brownfield sites and under-used land that could provide space for more affordable homes, and places to thrive.”

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