How social housing is key to post-COVID economic growth in the UK

How social housing is key to post-COVID economic growth in the UK

With a post-COVID economic crisis potentially looming for the UK, it’s more important than ever to identify areas which can help us to ‘build back better’. Believe it or not, social housing could be one of those areas.

When thinking about economic regeneration, sectors such as the UK’s service industry (which contributes a whopping 80% to GDP) may immediately spring to mind. But social housing may prove to be just as crucial in creating jobs, boosting the economy and crucially, getting more money flowing through local communities.

NHF campaign calls for ‘once in a generation’ investment in social housing

Right at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2019, the National Housing Federation (NHF) recognised the importance of social housing to the UK economy.

It launched a major campaign, Homes at the Heart. Backed by the Chartered Institute of Housing, homelessness charity Crisis and other key organisations, the campaign urged the government to make a ‘once in a generation’ investment in social housing.

The NHF argued that:

  • There are 3.8 million people in the UK who are currently in need of social housing. With more, better quality homes available, these people can put down roots and invest in their future
  • Non-profit social housing organisations provide jobs as well as homes and a range of other services, including employment support and funding for community initiatives
  • Investment in social housing can help the government achieve its aim of ‘levelling up’ communities 

Ultimately, the NHF believes that making a major commitment to social housing is an example of ‘inclusive capitalism’. This is where money can be used as a force for good in local communities, building infrastructure and creating jobs.

All of which will be essential for the UK’s economic recovery, especially in the wake of job losses, unemployment and small business closures caused by the pandemic.

The Impact of Social Housing report

The NHF isn’t the only major UK organisation fighting for social housing investment to be higher on the government’s agenda.

A recent report entitled ‘The Impact of Social Housing: Economic, Social, Health and Wellbeing’ highlighted the many economic benefits of building more affordable housing, with a focus on Scotland’s economy.

The report found that if the required 53,000 affordable homes are built in Scotland by 2026, this will create around 200,000 new jobs. These are primarily in construction and related industries. Additionally, it could contribute as much as £2 billion in additional output per year, along with tax revenues of £100 million.

Researchers also found that investment in affordable housing can help to:

  • Support fragile communities, provide training opportunities and tackle fuel poverty in rural areas
  • Address inequality, reduce child poverty and tackle homelessness
  • Improve physical and mental health and wellbeing, particularly in the case of energy efficient housing.

Sally Thomas, the chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) which commissioned the report, said:

 “The impact of housing associations and co-operatives' work goes far beyond ‘just’ delivering housing – they help to create sustainable and resilient communities.”


Social housing is more important to the UK than ever before. To find a new career opportunity in this sector, get in touch with our specialist team here Castlefield Recruitment. You can also take a look at current vacancies here.