15% of London households living in poor conditions
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Environment, Health
bad housingImage: bad housing via Shutterstock
A study has found that 15% of households in London can be classified as living in ‘poor housing’ and that reducing the worst health and safety hazards in these properties could save the NHS around £56 million a year.
The BRE Trust's research shows that while there has been significant progress made in improving the energy efficiency of the capital's housing stock, an unacceptable number of households are likely to experience fuel poverty and overcrowding as a result of increasingly high housing costs.
BRE housing & energy director Simon Nicol said: "The projected £56m annual savings for the NHS could rise to over £140m if other costs relating to living in poor housing such as lack of educational attainment, lost work days and additional energy and insurance costs are taken into account."
The research found that there is proportionately slightly less poor housing in London than in the rest of England, predominantly due to the fact that the capital has a higher proportion of homes that are purpose-built flats which tend to be newer, more energy efficient and in better repair than other types of home across the country.
However, the study found that housing conditions vary considerably both between and within boroughs, and there are parts of the city where conditions are significantly worse than the national and London average.
The study's findings are already helping local authorities to justify expenditure on housing refurbishment and target the most cost-effective improvements for vulnerable people in unhealthy housing.
Simon Nicol concluded: "The findings of the research will be used to present a more informed case to government for investment in housing, on the basis that it not only improves people’s health but also saves public money in the long term."