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Social housing needs fundamental rethink after Grenfell fire, says Sajid Javid

Mr Javid pledged to make the work “the most substantial report of its kind for a generation”.


(Victoria Jones/PA)

(Victoria Jones/PA)

(Victoria Jones/PA)

The Communities Secretary has spoken of the need for a fundamental rethink of social housing in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy as he announced a “top-to-bottom” review of the issues facing the sector.

Sajid Javid told delegates in a speech at the National Housing Federation annual conference that the Government will bring forward a green paper on social housing in England to be published as soon as possible.

Mr Javid pledged to make the work “the most substantial report of its kind for a generation”, looking at the quality and safety of social housing but going further.

He added that he wanted to see it published as soon as possible

Speaking in Birmingham, he said: “It will look at the overall quality of social homes, many of which are now beginning to show their age.

“It will cover service management, the way social homes and their tenants are taken care of.

“It will look at the rights of tenants and show how their voices can be better heard.

“And it will cover what can be done to ensure their complaints are taken seriously and dealt with properly, and make sure tenants have clear, timely avenues to seek redress when things do go wrong.”

It would also look at wider issues of place, community and the local economy, he added.

Mr Javid outlined the need for a new approach following the Grenfell fire.

He said: “While I don’t want to prejudge the findings of the public or police inquiries, it’s clear that in the months and the years before the fire the residents of Grenfell Tower were not listened to – that their concerns were ignored or dismissed, that too many people in positions of power saw tenants less as people with families and more as problems that needed to be managed.”

He added: “The legacy of Grenfell, the lessons that we learn, the changes that we make, none of that should be confined to fire safety.

“The legacy of Grenfell can and must be a whole new approach to the way this country thinks about social housing.”

Mr Javid spoke of his own upbringing in Bristol, adding: “I remember my school careers adviser telling me that there was no point in aiming high because kids from my neck of the woods simply didn’t take A-levels or go to university.”