CIH warns decent homes at risk in social housing

The professional body for people working in housing identified the need for swift reform to the council housing finance system (the Housing Revenue Account) to enable councils to become financially self sufficient; a change in borrowing rules to allow councils and arms length management organisations (ALMOs) to borrow funds to improve homes; and Government commitment to the long-term future of ALMOs as vital to the future investment in council housing.

CIH also warned that a more ambitious Decent Homes Two is needed from 2010 which would focus on making homes more energy efficient, and that this must be combined with a detailed investment plan. In a survey of CIH members, 73% agreed that if there were to be a post-2010 standard, it should have a particularly "green" focus and 93% of members identified measures to address energy efficiency and fuel poverty as the most important.

Webb said: "Unless a programme of this kind is begun soon, there is little prospect of the Government meeting its carbon reduction targets."

CIH also proposed that social landlords should have more flexibility on the rent they charge. 

She added: "There is a need to set out a longer-term policy on rents which preserves affordability but also permits resources to be raised for investment in the stock."

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