Sovereign sponsors the APPG employment and social housing inquiry

Sovereign sponsors APPG employment and social housing inquiry highlighting the need for funding certainty and devolved programmes to support local delivery of needs led employment opportunities.

  • New APPG report, led by social housing sector, spotlights how to improve employment and training for thousands of people across the UK 
  • Emphasises need for funding certainty to ensure continuity for key programmes that tackle unemployment, and devolving programmes to meet needs of local job markets 
  • Suggests social housing provides affordability and stability people need to secure employment 

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Housing and Social Mobility was formed to tackle unemployment and in-work poverty in the social housing sector. Today, 20 October 2020, the APPG published a new report examining the barriers working age people in social housing face in securing employment and progressing in work.

Originating from a new parliamentary inquiry launched in March 2020, to tackle the employment and earnings gap that exists between working age social housing tenants and other tenures; Sovereign highlights its commitment to the advancing role that social landlords can play in promoting social mobility, employment, and supporting in work progression for social tenants. As a result, we’re proud sponsors of the report.

Published in the face of the largest unemployment crisis faced in the UK for over 100 years, the APPG’s new report, ‘Improving Opportunities: How to support social housing tenants into sustainable employment’, urges funding certainty for key programmes that help tackle unemployment. This includes the UKs new Shared Prosperity Fund, and clarity as to how it will replace the European Social Fund (ESF) which is coming to an end now the UK has left the EU. Housing providers rely on the ESF to enhance delivery of their own employment and training services to support people into work.

The report, written by UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE), also warns that a national one size fits all approach fails to deliver for those who need it. Instead, the report recommends that employment support in England and Wales is commissioned, designed, and delivered locally – through local government, housing associations and local bodies. Devolving programmes in this way could save money whilst aligning employment support to reflect individual needs, fit local job markets, create new jobs and provide better opportunities for unemployed people to access sustainable employment.

The new report found no evidence to support the stigma surrounding social housing and suggests that the security and affordability provided by social housing tenure may give people the stability they need to create a foundation for success, helping them overcome barriers and in turn secure employment.

Erica Watts, Head of Employment and Training at Sovereign, said:

“Employment and training is a fundamental element of our new Thriving Communities strategy. We’re trebling our investment in this area over the next year, to help residents improve their future prosperity and employment prospects, therefore sponsoring this report was the right thing to do.

“It’s a report that offers practical recommendations that we look forward to working with the government and key organisations to implement and achieve greater impact for our residents.”

The evidence led report received over 60 submissions from the social housing, government and employment sectors. Crucially, the inquiry also heard from social housing tenants about what had been most helpful for them as they sought work. This is believed to be the first report on social housing providers and their often unremarked role within employment and training support to publish in the UK since Covid-19 took effect.

The report, which was led by Communities that Work and PlaceShapers, with additional support from the housing sector’s GEM programme, also set out a number of other recommendations for Government consideration:

  • Embed employment into local procurement contracts. Guarantee that jobs and apprenticeship opportunities are created for local people by requiring suppliers and contractors commit to providing these opportunities.
  • Provide temporary financial support for those entering the job market to help cover extra essential costs related to starting a job.
  • Focus on removing long-standing barriers to employment, including poor or expensive public transport, unaffordable childcare and irradicate digital exclusion with access to quality, affordable broadband for all.

Peter Aldous MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on Housing and Social Mobility commented:

“This APPG Inquiry on Housing and Employment establishes clear evidence for what works most effectively and consistently in supporting people to sustain their own livelihoods. I look forward to working with the Government, fellow MPs and the social housing sector to bring the inquiry’s recommendations to life, recognising that working together gives us the greatest chance of achieving long term, positive changes in communities across the UK.”

A brief video summarising the report can be found here.

The full report can be found here and executive summary here.