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Improvements to England's Worst Housing Stock Could Save NHS £13bn

Improvements to England's Worst Housing Stock Could Save NHS £13bn
31 August 2023 | Updated 09 January 2024

Remedial work to England’s poorest quality housing could provide £135.5 billion in societal benefits over the next 30 years.

These benefits include savings to the NHS, lower energy bills and carbon emissions, higher asset values and improved economic opportunities as a result of better health.

The cost-benefit analysis published by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) outlines a 30-year analysis of the impact of improving poor housing in England.

For the 2.4 million homes in England identified as having one of the most serious health and safety hazards, remedial works would cost £9 billion. If all this work could be undertaken immediately, there would be accrued benefits of £135.5 billion over the next 30 years.  This includes £13.0 billion of savings to the NHS.

According to BRE’s research, improving the 65,000 homes with a Category 1 damp and mould hazard would only cost £250 million, unlocking £4.8 billion in societal benefit over the next 30 years if this work was to be undertaken immediately.

Gillian Charlesworth, CEO, BRE, commented: “Our analysis is a clear signal to policymakers that investing in the health and safety of England’s poor housing will deliver significant, long-term economic and societal benefits.

“Improving poor housing has huge implications for the life chances of the families who live in those homes, and benefits to society as a whole. Whether it’s a young family living with cold, damp and mould, or an older person at risk from falls, nobody should live in a home that’s unsafe. But our research shows there is much more than a moral case for tackling unsafe homes. There is also a powerful economic argument for England and the UK to deliver the improvements needed, through targeted and timely programmes of work to reap the financial payback.

“By building on our previous research, we hope to further inform local and national government where the most problematic homes are and provide a foundation for dedicating strategic resources to remediate poor housing for the benefit of individuals, the national economy, and wider society.”

Picture: a photograph showing the back of a set of terraced houses. Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 31 August 2023


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