News | Published November 26 2019

Saltash model ideal to seize opportunities from party pledges toward housing

As the general election debate becomes broadened beyond Brexit, the major parties’ plans to deal with the UK's housing crisis have become a key battleground.

Figures released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government earlier in November revealed that only 6,287 council homes were built in 2018-19, the second-lowest level since 1921, excluding wartime.

Furthermore, over 1.1 million households were shown to be on waiting lists for affordable homes, something which Polly Neate, chief executive of the Shelter housing charity, called 'outrageous’.

Neate also made clear to party leaders that for new housing builds ‘only social housing will do, not expensive new-builds and luxury flats’, if any government is to properly address the problem.

Now, both parties have outlined their stance.

The Conservative election manifesto includes plans to deliver a million new builds in the run-up to 2024, which will be fuelled an increase of house building in the private sector. 

Prime minister Boris Johnson has also promised a Social Housing White Paper to “set out further measures to empower tenants and support the continued supply of social homes” should he be re-elected, along with a commitment to renew the Affordable Homes Programme which will support the provision of hundreds of thousands of affordable dwellings.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has promised the largest increase in council house building since the second world war, consisting of 100,000 council houses per year and 50,000 social homes allocated through housing associations by the end of its first term in office. The project is estimated to cost £75 billion, which would come from the party’s borrowed “social transformation fund”.

Whichever party may be elected into power, the focus on social housing will make many in the construction industry sit up and take note of future opportunities, particularly contractors such as Saltash who operate across various sectors, including social housing. 

However, Saltash's business model and its network with central government and local authorities hold it in particularly good stead to capitalise.

Saltash operates as a main contractor for refurbishment, new build, disabled aids and adaptations, repairs and maintenance works. Writing in The Parliamentary Review, managing director Richard Raymond discussed how the firm has delivered on a range of contracts in various sectors for different clients.

Raymond wrote: “These [sectors] include central government, arts and culture, schools and universities, healthcare, and social housing.

“Over the past 30 years, we have developed a a high standard of service delivery throughout central London and the southeast, and maintain key strategic contracts for clients such as the Parliamentary Estate, the Historic Royal Palaces, the Royal Household, the City of London and many other similar clients.”

Being based in South Bermondsey, London, Raymond discussed how Saltash, like many others, has recognised the ‘critical need to build new homes rapidly’ and sought to address the issue.

Raymond said: “Through our work with councils and housing associations, we are assisting in the overhaul and construction of such homes all across the city. “

We are, therefore, not only providing continuous work in what can be an unpredictable industry, but also contributing to the growth of the housing landscape, both regionally and nationally.”

Indeed, with the need for social housing among the most vulnerable on the rise, the specialisation Saltash has in providing disabled aids and adaptations should also provide an advantage for the future. As Raymond described in the Review, the firm's specialisations include installations of handrails and access ramps right through to large projects such as kitchen and bathroom adaptations and installing lifts and hoists; all will be critical to properly kitting out future builds and updating homes to render them suitable for the most vulnerable.

Furthermore, Saltash’s close relationship with central government and local authorities should prove to be hugely beneficial in keeping the firm at the forefront of facing the housing crisis head on, whoever may assume power in December.

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The Parliamentary Review

November 26 2019

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