Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has echoed the shadow housing secretary Lucy Powell’s call for increased regulation of private landlords, claiming that 40 per cent of privately rented homes in North West England currently fall below the government’s Decent Homes Standard.
Speaking at the Housing 2021 conference in Manchester, Burnham also highlighted the link between good homes and good health. “You cannot have good health without good housing. It is as simple as that. Housing is the cornerstone of life. You cannot have a good life without good housing. No one succeeds unless that home environment is right.”
He continued: “What chance have we got to improve people’s health…if those homes aren’t above that Decent Homes Standard?”
Burnham also called for a wholesale change of mindset when it comes to the reliance on the free market to deliver homes to society: ““We need to change the mindset when it comes to the market being able to fix everything,” he said. “You cannot say it has delivered for housing, something different is needed. We need to go back to the post war mindset of proving social homes.”
Burnham’s appearance was one of the highlights of day two of the conference, pulling an impressive crowd into the Keynote Theatre where he delivered a wide ranging speech that also covered the impact of Covid, attitudes to homelessness, social care, levelling up and decarbonisation. He also echoed the shadow housing secretary’s call to roll retrofitting and building safety improvements into the decarbonisation programme.
The Manchester mayor went on to criticise the government’s approach to funding for housing and social improvements, accusing it of giving “bits of money to towns it likes.” He added: “We need a major housing improvement programme across the country. That’s where levelling up starts for me, in homes.”
Image: Salford City mayor Paul Dennett with GM mayor Andy Burnham (right).