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Action needed on human and financial costs of poor housing

"One key policy objective from Marmot was the creation and development of healthy and sustainable places and communities and in this area the two Institutes will work together," Dr Battersby said. "As the BRE report has shown more than four million seriously unhealthy homes exist in the private sector and these cost the NHS £600million a year and society as a whole £1.5billion."

Farrand said: "Housing is a key determinant of health, and with an ageing population (the pensionable age is also moving towards 68) we have to do more to ensure that we have a healthy population and reduce the effects of poor housing on NHS costs. Action is also required so as to reduce the adverse effects on children and their education from inadequate housing.

"We will be urging central and local government and the third sector to take on board these reports and raise the priority given to improving conditions in homes and local environments (building on the Total Place approach). We know what can be achieved from our experience with the Decent Homes Programme. We can build on this experience and expertise to further reduce the impact of housing on health inequalities across tenures.

"Local authorities have a wide range of powers that enable them to take action, I hope that they will use these and work increasingly with Primary Care Trusts and others to address the problems."

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