The communities secretary Sajid Javid has announced a ‘wide-ranging, top-to-bottom review’ of social housing in England which he said will examine issues including ‘place, community, and the local economy’.

In a speech to the National Housing Federation conference this morning, Javid said that, in the wake of the Grenfell disater, the government is to bring forward a green paper on social housing which would “inform both government policy and the wider debate for many years to come”.

“Today I can announce that we will be bringing forward a green paper on social housing in England. A wide-ranging, top-to-bottom review of the issues facing the sector, the green paper will be the most substantial report of its kind for a generation”, he said.

The minister said that the paper would “kick off a nationwide conversation on social housing” looking at “what works and what doesn’t work”.

Javid said that the paper would “look at wider issues of place, community, and the local economy” and consider what role social housing policy can play in “building safe and integrated communities, where people from different backgrounds get along no matter what type of housing they live in”.

He added that it would look at maximising the “benefits for social housing for the local, regional and national economy” as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

Javid said that the publication of the document was “not something we’re going to rush”, but added that he wanted to see it published “as soon as possible”.

The secretary of state hailed the efforts of former Tory Prime Minister Harold Macmillan who, while housing minister saw Britain built 300,000 houses a year, “the vast majority what today we would call social homes”.

But the minister said that, since then, social housing stock “became increasingly neglected, as did the people who lived in it”

Javid said that this had to change. He said: “We need to shift the whole conversation about social housing, reframe the whole debate.We need to challenge outdated, unfair attitudes. We need to return to the time, not so very long ago, when social housing was valued.It was treasured.

“Well, I’m proud to stand here today and say that you have a secretary of state who’s totally committed to the cause. I’m delighted to say you have a Prime Minister who is too”.

Elsewhere, Javid said that he thought the Right To Buy policy is “a great scheme”, but he added that there “are issues that need looking at” and said that the government would be “making a decision on the way forward just as soon as we possibly can”.

Source: Michael Donnelly, Planning Resource, 19 September 2017