1st July 2009 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The current confusion about how the £1.57 billion social housing programme will be funded must not be at the expense of taking money away from the refurbishment of our social housing stock, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Brian Berry, Director of External Affairs at the FMB said:
“The chaos about which government department is going to pay for the Prime Minister’s £1.57 billion social housing programme sadly reflects the mess that government housing policy is in. We desperately need more affordable homes but taking money from existing refurbishment schemes is merely robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
“The maintenance of our existing 3.8 million social homes is fundamental if we are not to repeat the mistakes of the past and allow social house housing to fall into disrepair with all the social problems that come about as a result. Poorly maintained social homes store up real financial problems for the future because of the extra costs placed on health, police and social services. Putting all the emphasis on new social homes is not the answer if it means taking away budgets for the maintenance of existing homes. I thought the lesson had been learnt by the Government but it appears not.”
“A simple and more cost effective solution to tackle the refurbishment of both social and private housing would be to cut VAT from 15 per cent to 5 per cent for all repair and maintenance work. This would also help bring the 700,000 empty homes in England back into use. It’s a shame the Government concentrates on the talk about the delivery of better homes rather than introducing a simple practical measure to actually deliver its aim.”