It’s been one of those weeks where you look at the headlines in the papers and then check the date just to make sure it’s not April 1st… [for legal reasons the next part about a BBC reporter was removed] which brings me on to Govey. Now, I have said it before, and I’ll say it again until I have said it enough times so that it becomes the truth… Govey is a sterling bloke. Nice. As. Pie. And as it turns out, terribly generous with his gifts to his mates at the Treasury.
This week we found out that Govey’s department handed back £1.9bn meant to tackle England’s housing crisis… the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities returned the money to the Treasury after struggling to find projects to spend it on.
No, really! I’m not making this up! One point nine billion quid. BILLION, not million. There was then some long winded, mealy-mouthed 1,001 excuses of why… the pandemic, increases in interest rates etc. But the reality is that the dear old Government has created a perfect storm with rubbish like promising to scrap mandatory housing targets (they haven’t, and the 300,000 new homes housing targets remain in place) that led to a plethora of councils slamming on breaks on their Local Plans.
A lot of this money was aimed at helping those most in need of affordable housing but the Government failed to find projects they could spend it on. They were also supposed to help retrofitting buildings to improve safety post the Grenfell fire… again, they failed to deliver on this too.
Lichfields produced a report that found that housebuilding will be dropping to its lowest levels for decades (and in fact the HBF estimate that the levels could drop to 120,000 a year, the lowest since the end of WW2) with 580,000 extra people finding themselves homeless and sofa-surfing with friends. Imagine what a change that £1.9bn could make to them…
I can give you another example where the Government failed spectacularly. We recently worked on a project where an NHS trust has a large parcel of surplus land… enough land to create a park and community orchards, wetland habitats, play areas etc. etc. and 90 much needed home, including homes for key workers such as the staff that work for the NHS. As you can imagine, the parcel of land is worth £millions to the NHS if developed and the Government could deliver a huge number of affordable homes, they desperately need for the nurses that we all clapped during the pandemic.
You would think this is the most logical thing ever… you would of course be very wrong. The Department for Health could not square this with DLUCH and the local planning authority and deliver the housing. It was a bureaucratic nightmare with Government departments simply not talking to one another. No wonder we are in such a mess. How they are going to make our NHS last another 75 years is beyond me.
Until next week,