The Serious Implications Of Planning Policy On Our Health

From a letter to The Guardian by Jessica Ormerod:

The Guardian’s revelations of the extent of corporate influence on the housing policies of government and their implementation by local authorities of all political persuasions is shocking, but not unexpected. The displacement of council tenants and leaseholders in areas of high land value in favour of the development of their old homes into homes for profit is the same transfer of provision being carried out across all sectors of public service, including the NHS.

Adequate access to decent housing is a growing problem for all income groups, leading to overcrowding and stress as people struggle to meet high housing costs. These policies, which focus relentlessly on ‘economic value’, are the drivers of greater inequality which is having a dangerously adverse effect on the nation’s health.

We are particularly concerned for the future of the children in families who are being moved out of their communities with increasing frequency, fragmenting their education, friendships and family connections. These are well researched indices of poor outcomes in both health and educational attainment. We are seeing that the real effect of privatisation, as demonstrated so clearly in these revelations, is to reduce the availability of services to the public in the name of profitability. That goes for genuinely affordable housing, NHS services, social services and all other public sector provision. Businesses need to flourish, but not at the expense of the public health. We have been badly let down by successive governments who fail to grasp this basic point.

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