Repair and maintenance work on public housing has been on a downward trajectory over the last two decades, according to a new report by public sector procurement specialists the Scape Group.
According to Scape’s latest research, repairs and maintenance hit an all-time low in 2018 of £7.1bn – a £2.2bn decrease since 1997, despite the number of public sector homes only decreasing by 542,000. In 1997, 32% of all repair and maintenance work in the housing sector was carried out on public sector homes, by 2018 this had dropped to just 25% of total output.
The peak of public sector housing delivery took place during the 1950s, when Britain saw over 200,000 homes delivered each year. These homes often fail to meet today’s energy efficiency standards and require work to ensure they meet modern standards of living.
Mark Robinson, Scape Group chief executive, said: “Everyone deserves a home that is fit for purpose, but more than that, a home shouldn’t negatively affect your health or hold back your opportunity to succeed in life. There is a clear connection between the quality of housing and the mental, emotional and physical well-being of the people that live there. Our analysis shows a nationwide decrease in the amount of work being carried out on public sector homes. Often the people living in these homes have little recourse to move and face difficulty in securing essential repair and maintenance work.”
Scape’s State of our Estates report identified that the amount of repair and maintenance work being carried out on all of Britain’s housing stock is falling, and that 4.5 million homes now fail the Decent Homes Standard across the public and private sector.
Following the report, Scape have made a series of recommendations which aim to improve the quality of the UK’s existing housing stock and improve the living conditions of millions of people, including:
- Turning policy initiatives into strategic outputs;
- Lifting the restriction on Right to Buy receipts;
- Greater scrutiny of housing stock in the private rented sector;
Robinson said: “The number of households living in the private rented sector is rising, as people continue to be priced out of the housing market. In the ten years from 2007 to 2017, an additional 1.7 million people now live in private rented accommodation. Latest data also shows us that 25% of homes in the private rented sector are classified as non-decent. We need to see better oversight and scrutiny of landlords in the private rented sector so that consumers secure greater protection and importantly, have the ability to hold landlords accountable.”