Our meeting with the Shadow Housing Minister and other political updates

24 April 2020

An update on our recent influencing work, including meeting with Labour’s new Shadow Housing Minister and speaking at the House of Lords debate on social care.

We are progressing with our political engagement to ensure that national stakeholders see the vital work housing associations are doing to ensure the safety of their residents throughout the coronavirus crisis.

With parliament back from recess, we have been engaging with ministers and MPs on a range of urgent issues related to the sector’s current priorities, from the need for PPE to the additional help supported housing providers require.

Following on from our last political update, this article contains information on our:

  • meeting with Thangam Debbonaire, Labour’s new Shadow Housing Minister
  • engagement with MPs across the country
  • involvement in the House of Lords debate on social care.

Our meeting with Thangam Debbonaire, the new Shadow Housing Minister

On Tuesday we met with Thangam Debbonaire, who has been appointed as the Shadow Housing Minister following Keir Starmer’s election as leader of the Labour party.

We used the meeting to establish a positive and productive relationship with Thangam, building on the work we had done with her predecessor John Healey. The Shadow Minister said she looked forward to having a close and constructive relationship with us.

Thangam is interested in a number of issues that are important to our members, from the impact of coronavirus on homeless people to domestic abuse services. She was also interested in how the government can support the economic recovery of the sector when we emerge from the crisis.

Our engagement with MPs across the country

We held a virtual meeting with Felicity Buchan, the new Conservative MP for Kensington and member of the Treasury Select Committee. Felicity was keen to hear more about our sector’s response to coronavirus and how we can feed into the work of the committee.

We also spoke to Eddie Hughes, Conservative MP for Walsall North. Eddie was very supportive of housing associations, and was keen to hear about the great work they have been doing to support their residents. He suggested that many MPs would be pleased to hear from housing associations about the programmes they have put in place to help residents during the pandemic.

Our involvement in a House of Lords debate

Our Chair, Diana Warwick, Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe, spoke in a House of Lords debate on the impact of the coronavirus on the care sector. Diana used this opportunity to pay tribute to housing associations working in this sector providing frontline support to older and vulnerable people.

She also highlighted that housing associations providing supported and specialist housing are vital components of our social care system, beyond those services regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

She raised concerns on behalf of our members, particularly on PPE, testing and the need for long-term reform of the social care system.