Headlines: December 9th, 2009

There is to be a full scale assessment of the Government’s drive to improve England’s social housing stock amid fears that some local authorities seem to be going backwards. The Housing Minister, John Healey, said the programme, which began in 2001, had been a “massive national refurbishment of unprecedented scale”.

Announcing the review, Mr. Healey said 33 billion pounds had been invested so far to ensure tenants lived in homes with decent heating, wiring, windows, doors, insulation, kitchen and bathrooms. But he added: “I am concerned some of the poorest performing local authorities are going backwards and I want to make sure they are not letting their tenants down and are getting the benefits of lessons learned in their area. This assessment will highlight all we’ve achieved as well as all we’ve learned along the way.”

He said he was particularly concerned that in 27 local authority areas the level of non-decent housing stock had gone up and in 13 other cases council areas more than half of housing was still non decent. Ten others had a third of their housing stock not up to standard. The assessment will allow landlords to share best practice, providing help to authorities that are struggling.

The Government says that as well as providing improved, more energy efficient social houses the Decent Homes programme has encouraged better ways of managing homes with tenants having more say as well as creating employment.