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New parliamentary inquiry launched aimed at tackling the employment and earnings gap in social housing

#SocialMobility – A new parliamentary inquiry launched today (Monday 9 March 2020) to tackle the employment and earnings gap that exists between working age social housing tenants and other tenures. 

The national inquiry, led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Housing and Social Mobility, will run from March through to September 2020.

In addition to collecting written submissions and oral evidence in parliament, the inquiry will be hosting nationwide workshops aiming to draw out evidence, input and testimonies from residents, experts and stakeholders throughout the South West, the East, the Midlands and the North of England.

The inquiry is seeking submissions from organisations, communities and individuals who can contribute insights to the following five questions:

  1. What is the relationship between social housing and employment? 
  2. Why are social housing tenants more likely to be in lower paid and unstable employment than people living in other tenures?
  3. How can the social housing sector be the catalyst for closing the social housing employment and earnings gap?
  4. What can Government do to support the social housing sector and tenants, and to reduce the social housing employment and earnings gap? 
  5. What lessons can we learn for future employment innovation that will embed tenants and engage with them fully and effectively?

In particular, the inquiry is looking to receive input from:  

  • Housing organisations that deliver employment support and services to their residents or wider community
  • Housing sector experts, including opinion formers and influencers 
  • Employment charities, organisations and employers
  • Residents in social housing
  • Individuals who have experience of employment support and training provided by a housing organisation

The APPG on Housing and Social Mobility is supported by Communities that Work and PlaceShapers, with additional support from the housing sector ‘GEM’ programme. 

Managing Director of Communities that Work, Lynsey Sweeney said:

“This nationwide inquiry marks an important milestone in the social housing sector’s efforts to tackle the employment and earnings gap that exists between social housing and other tenures.

The housing sector invests over £70million each year in employment support and services, making them the second biggest contributor to employment support in the UK after the Department for Work and Pensions. Harnessing the sectors’ potential is critical if we are to tackle this employment gap. 

“I We must understand the real issues from the perspective of all of those involved in delivering and receiving employment support, which is why we need a mix of sector experts and real “lived examples” of how landlords can help to close the employment and earnings gap in the communities that they serve.

PlaceShapers chair Sinéad Butters said:

“PlaceShapers’ members are community anchors – we are close to the people who can be hardest to reach. We want our residents to always have equal chances to everyone else. That’s why we invest in employment services as we see the difference it makes to someone’s life and life chances.

“In five years, we’ve helped 10,000 of our residents into jobs. We do this by tackling the root causes of unemployment or underemployment which can drive in-work poverty. The insight from this inquiry will help our members do even more to close the earnings gap.”

The deadline for written submissions is 29 May 2020. 

The APPG for Housing and Social Mobility, together with its sponsors, will launch the full report in parliament in October 2020.

The APPG is supported by Communities that Work and PlaceShapers. Communities that Work act as registered secretariat, with additional support from the housing sector ‘GEM’ programme. 

The research function for the Inquiry is provided by the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE). 

About Communities that Work: The voice of housing providers who deliver employment support to communities across England and Wales.

We aim to transform lives for good, by enabling housing providers to support people into rewarding, sustainable employment.

At the heart of our work are our members and their aspirations to support more people from across our communities to thrive in life, through work that rewards and sustains families and communities.

About Placeshapers: The national network of community-based social housing providers.

All members sign up to these five principles:

  1. Our residents and customers are at the heart of what we do and have genuine impact on our organisations.
  2. We listen and provide more than just landlord services because we care about people and places.
  3. We build homes that respond to the needs of the communities we serve. 
  4. Working collaboratively and actively with our local authorities and other local partners enables us to improve and shape places at both a strategic and operational level. 
  5. We are run by members, for members and are committed to a diverse, values-driven housing association sector.
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