Labour to launch ‘healthy homes zone’ consultation

The Labour Party is to launch a consultation on creating ‘healthy home zones’ to mark the 70thanniversary of the NHS.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth and shadow housing secretary John Healey have today announced plans to consult on a range of measures to tackle housing-related health inequalities, which they claim cost the NHS £1.4bn a year.

These include plans to set up new ‘healthy homes zones’ to target areas with the worst quality housing, with new landlord licensing powers and penalties.

The Labour Party also wants to introduce a national ‘healthy homes tsar‘ to co-ordinate central government’s work, and report on progress and create a requirement all local areas to have a dedicated health and housing strategy within the first year of a Labour government.

The announcement of a consultation came as Labour published new analysis, which revealed around a third (31%) of health and wellbeing boards have no specific section on housing or homelessness in their current health and wellbeing strategy.

‘Housing and health were joined after the Second World War because widespread slum private housing meant unsanitary conditions and poor health for millions,’ said Mr Healey.

‘This was Beveridge’s evil of “squalor”,’ he added. ‘We’re at risk of recreating this problem today.

‘More people live in private rented housing now than at any time since the 1950s and hundreds of thousands of these homes are unfit to live in. The next Labour government will act decisively to change this.’

Mr Ashworth added: ‘As part of our determination to narrow health inequalities and tackle the wider social determinants of poor health, we must again closely align health and housing policy.

‘Housing-related health problems are costing the NHS an estimated £1.4bn a year and poor housing can ruin people’s lives so for Labour in government, in the spirit of Bevan’s original vision, it will be a priority to combat housing-related illness and ensure nobody’s poor home damages their health.’

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart


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