Chief Executive Paul Gamble responds to measures in the Government’s Spending Review 2015 that increase funding for the Disabled Facilities Grant for household adaptations.
Habinteg Chief Executive Paul Gamble said:
I’m pleased to see the Government recognise the significant importance of Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) with a clear funding commitment in yesterday’s Spending Review.
Despite having to make difficult choices on public expenditure, money used to provide vital adaptations in the homes of disabled people will double to over £500 million by 2019/20. The Chancellor should be commended for making this commitment explicit in his plans for the next 5 years.
The importance and impact of household adaptations, which support disabled people to live independently, cannot be underestimated. We know from our tenants’ experience how highly they are valued. We hope that this increased funding will allow many more people to get the adaptations they need and reduce the often frustrating delays in making homes fit for people’s changing needs.
We called for greater funding, support and awareness of the role of DFGs in our July briefing – Disabled Facilities Grants 2015 – and outlined the inaccessible nature of much of the existing housing stock in England. With this in mind, building all new homes to accessible, easily and cost-effectively adaptable standards just makes sense. Building to the new Category 2 access standard (which is based on the Lifetime Homes Standard) would make this money go even further in the long term. We hope the Government will promote their new accessible housing standards in the same strong way they have answered calls on DFGs.
Of course, we look forward to seeing the detail and we’ll be able to assess the delivery nationwide given our schemes are located in many local authorities. There is work still to do but this appears to be a welcome step towards recognising the social value of homes that are accessible and adaptable for all.