Tens of thousands UK homes unsafe to live in

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The Housing secretary, Michael Gove, has branded tens of thousands of homes unsafe, stating they are “not in the state they should be”.

His comments have come just days after the coroner ruled the death of toddler Awaab Ishak was a result of toxic mould.

Awaab Ishak

The two year old developed a respiratory condition that led to his death in December 2020 that was brought on as a result of the untreated mould in the social housing he was living in.

His family had brought repeated attention to the mould, starting back in 2017, and were told to simply “paint over it”. They had raised their concerns with Rochdale Borough Housing (RBH), but no action was taken.

Council Failings

As a result of the tragedy, the government has stripped RBH of £1m in expected funding.

Mr Gove said, “We are not giving money to organisations that are operating incompetently”. However, he went on to say that whilst the housing association had “failed” there were signs that they would be able to improve.

The housing secretary visited Rochdale yesterday in order to see “the situation on the ground”.

The government has since announced that any housing providers that do not meet any safety concerns set by the Regulator of Social Housing will be blocked from new funding until the required improvements have been made.

Mr Gove has stated that RBH and other housing associations have the resources necessary to deal with repairs but “poorly run” organisations should not get public money.

Mr Gove spoke on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme where he admitted the government “should have moved faster” to improve the social housing for tenants affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

He later told BBC Breakfast that “”I fear it’s the case that there are tens of thousands of properties that are not in the state that they should be.”

He went on to say that there are a “significant” number of homes – some built in as early as the 1960s and 1970s “that simply need to be properly repaired and properly maintained”.

The government has since promised to monitor the RBH “closely” in order to ensure that failings in judgment like this are not repeated.

What Does This Mean?

The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has said that in order for the social housing standards to improve investment was needed and that reducing the budget on which these councils operate would not help.

“If Michael Gove is saying, ‘until you do x, y and z, we will hold this money back’, that might be a fair enough move,” he told BBC Radio Manchester.

But housing in Rochdale was going to need new investment, said Mr Burnham. “There’s no getting away from that,” he added.

Mr Gove has stated that legislation that is expected in the next calendar year the government would be giving “additional powers” to housing authorities to ensure that the voices of its tenants were “heard more clearly”.

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photo of Alexandra Ventress

Alexandra is a junior content producer who enjoys writing articles and finding out more about the property market. Read more about Alexandra here.

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About Alexandra Ventress 91 Articles
Alexandra is a junior content producer who enjoys writing articles and finding out more about the property market. Read more about Alexandra here.

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