When two crises collide

Stuart Heslop, 01 October 2020

We are now six months into the coronavirus crisis and the news of the escalation of the infection rates and hospitalisations across the UK is deeply worrying for all of us, but perhaps most worrying for people who feel trapped in homes that don’t meet their needs.

Lockdown highlighted that the living conditions for some people in the UK are inadequate and the experience of being restricted to your home for too many was unbearable. For many years now the social housing sector has been tackling our country’s housing challenges by delivering new homes, upgrading their existing stock and investing time, energy and money in strengthening communities. But despite all of their hard work we still live with a housing crisis. So in many ways the start of the pandemic was when two crises collided.

We’ve seen a stronger commitment to investment in social housing from government in recent years, and investors and banks have continued to support the sector’s liquidity needs. Alongside this, the government’s levelling up agenda offers real potential for demonstrating how investing in housing can drive both local and national growth

But the pandemic has really shone a light of the fact that we all need to do more, right now.  

It is clear that a concerted effort is required from all stakeholders to ensure that no one suffers the housing inequality that currently exists and that we have created wonderful places where people can prosper thanks to investment in social housing.

That is why NatWest has recently committed to deploy £3bn of additional support over the next three years to the social housing sector to bolster both development of new homes and the ongoing improvement to existing homes needed across the UK.   

It just can’t be right, that in 2020 that people have to ‘put up’ with homes that fall so dramatically short of their basic needs. Some of the same people we have clapped on our doorsteps through lockdown have been living in properties that the majority of the population would find to be completely unacceptable. 

At NatWest we want to be part of the solution. Seeing our customers succeeding, our communities succeeding and our economy thriving is at the heart of what we do and that is why we support the Homes at the Heart campaign. Our commitment to social housing has never been more important to us and we stand ready to play our part in improving lives and making communities stronger.