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Energy Efficiency of homes should determine social rent levels

A think tank says rents set in the social sector should reflect the energy efficiency of a property. It’s one of a series of reforms demanded by a group called The Housing Forum, a body that includes developers and suppliers to the housing industry.

Its manifesto - published as an attempt to promote housing as a major topic for this year’s General Election - makes a series of other demands which include:

- Reintroducing housing targets alongside introduce strong incentives for local authorities to meet them, including requiring a five-year land supply and increasing funding for infrastructure for areas meeting or exceeding their targets;

- Moving community input into planning upstream to the plan-making stage, including the use of design codes;

- Reforming and updating the social rent formula, with rents reflecting the energy efficiency of the property;

- Removing VAT from all forms of retrofitting, regeneration and fire safety work;

- Reforming grant rates for affordable housing to a rate per habitable room to encourage the building of larger homes for families; and

- A £4 billion Housing Accelerator Fund to build an extra 60,000 affordable homes, to cut homelessness in half in three years. 

The Housing Forum is also calling on politicians to avoid “damaging and inflammatory rhetoric such as ‘concreting over the countryside’ to describe building the homes and neighbourhoods needed for people to thrive”. 

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