The full cost of poor housing
On 19 May 2016, BRE published a new report revealing that poor quality homes in England cost the NHS £1.4bn and wider society £18.6bn per year.
Although diseases associated with the slums of Victorian Britain have been largely eradicated, there remain a significant number of health and safety hazards in many homes, and this problem is compounded by the fact that the UK has some of the oldest housing stock in the developed world.
The report ‘The Full Cost of Poor Housing’ presents the findings from a research project funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the BRE Trust, to update and improve estimates of the cost to the NHS of living in poor housing. It updates an earlier report ‘The Real Cost of Poor Housing’, published in 2010.
The new report is aimed at surveyors, housing policy analysts and policy makers, town planners, housing managers in the public and private sector, landlords, property owners, health professionals and managers. It expands on the 2010 report’s model, calculating costs and benefits associated with the main building-related hazards found in homes in England, using the latest published data on health and safety in the home and updated NHS treatment costs. The definition of poor housing has also been expanded to include all sub-standard housing, not just those with serious hazards.
The research suggests that the cost to the NHS from injuries and illness directly attributable to homes in poor condition is £1.4bn per year. The wider cost of leaving poor quality housing in England unimproved (including medical costs, lost education and employment opportunities) is £18.6 billion per year.
The report’s lead author Mike Roys said: “The revised model expands the costs to the NHS to include wider societal costs such as medical costs, lost education and employment opportunities.”
Dr Ann Marie Connolly, Deputy Director, Health Equity and Mental Health at Public Health England said: “We welcome this report which adds to existing evidence and our wider understanding of the link between poor housing, demands on NHS care and associated social costs. We hope this report will stimulate wider discussions and local action to address the important role that good housing plays in underpinning the health and wellbeing of the people of England.”
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