We are very pleased to see a commitment to establishing a significant Building Safety Fund to remove unsafe materials from tall buildings. The broad commitment to remove “unsafe” materials is very welcome as this will remove some uncertainty where materials other than ACM pose a fire risk. Yet, how materials are removed from complex buildings which are not tall remains a question, as does whether there is any funding for interim remedial measures.
The £500 million hardship fund for local councils to support the most vulnerable in their areas affected by COVID-19 is a very good idea, and we hope an element of this will be made available to rough sleepers and homeless people who are without a safe place to self-isolate should they be affected. Also, as small businesses, we really appreciate that g320 members may be able to recover sick payments for up to 2 weeks for employees. If we do experience a significant impact from COVID-19, our ability to let properties to people in housing need may be impacted.
The 6,000 places for homeless people who rough sleep is extremely positive. However, the causes of homelessness need urgent attention alongside long term solutions such as providing more social housing. We want to be able to reduce rough sleeping and homelessness and maintain it at the negligible levels we achieved in the 2000s. The funding for associated support services for rough sleepers is a step in the right direction. We hope that the £12 billion Affordable Homes programme will allow smaller developers such as small housing associations to continue their plans to house more people in housing need through continuing initiatives such as the Community Lead Housing Fund and allocating funding to London and other areas of highest housing need.