Responding to today’s announcement from the Labour Party that they would create “Healthy Homes Zones” and join up housing and health policy, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has welcomed the proposals but called for more details.
The Labour Party has claimed that hundreds of thousands of rented homes are unfit to live in, and warned of a return to pre-war slum housing if standards are not improved and housing and health policy better integrated. In response, the Party has set out plans to create healthy homes zones that would target areas with the worst quality housing.
Other measures that would be put out to consultation new landlord licensing powers and penalties, the appointment of a "tsar" to report on progress, and plans for a £50 million housing and health inequalities fund.
Tamara Sandoul, Housing Policy Manager at CIEH, said:
“We welcome Labour’s proposal to bring housing and health closer together. The quality of housing is a key determinant of health, especially for the young and the elderly – who are not only more susceptible to poor conditions affecting their health - but also tend to spend most of their time in the home.
Healthy homes zones are a promising proposal, but there is a real need for far more detail on what they would do in practice.
It is certainly clear that there is much to learn from existing initiatives like selective licensing schemes and national landlord registration schemes to see how well these operate in practice and how future licensing schemes could be fine-tuned to target poor conditions and improve quality of housing.”
Notes to Editors
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About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH):
CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing more than 8,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved.
Environmental health has an important and unique contribution to make to improving public health and reducing health inequalities. CIEH campaigns to ensure that government policy addresses the needs of communities and business in achieving and maintaining improvements to health and health protection.