New research centre to inform UK housing policy

A new national research centre, which will be independent from government and other interests, has been launched to provide robust evidence to inform housing policy and practice across the UK.

The UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) has been launched by ESRC, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. It is a collaboration between nine UK Universities and four non-HEI organisations and will have staff located at five hubs across the UK in Glasgow, Sheffield, London, Cardiff and Belfast. CaCHE will be led by the University of Glasgow.

CaCHE will join together a comprehensive range of stakeholders with the goal of tackling housing problems at a national, devolved, regional, and local level.

The five-year centre will launch on 1 August 2017 and will receive £6 million of funding from the ESRC, with support from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the AHRC. A further £1.5 million of funding will come from the consortium itself.

The work of the programme will focus on six overlapping themes:

  • Housing and the economy
  • Understanding housing markets: demand and need, supply and delivery
  • Housing aspirations, choices and outcomes
  • Housing, poverty, health, education and employment
  • Housing and neighbourhood design, sustainability and place-making
  • Multi-level governance.

Professor Ken Gibb, currently Director of Policy Scotland at the University of Glasgow, will be principal investigator and Director of CaCHE. He said, “In the UK, housing is one of the main policy challenges facing national and devolved governments. This major new programme will allow policy makers and practitioners across the UK to benefit from the best possible evidence to help them take the robust action needed to tackle chronic housing problems.”

Professor Jane Elliott, CEO of the Economic and Social Research Council said, “As a nation we face key housing challenges, such as a lack of affordable housing preventing young people from owning their own home, meeting the housing needs of an ageing population, building sustainable houses that are resilient to flooding and climate change, and tackling homelessness.

“Improving the UK’s growth and stability, the cohesion of its communities and the wellbeing and prosperity of its citizens requires effective housing policies. It is therefore vital that policymakers have the best evidence at hand when making decisions about what sort of houses to build, where and for whom.

“This Centre draws together internationally renowned experts across a diverse range of fields. It will serve as a vital national institution, and provide a leading voice in the UK on housing issues.”

Julie McLaren, Associate Director of Programmes at the Arts and Humanities Research Council, said, “The AHRC congratulates Professor Gibb and his team on an excellent bid that will provide a wide range of perspectives on UK housing. We are particularly pleased that it includes an emphasis on how the arts and humanities can contribute to a broader understanding and an improved evidence base for housing policy and practice. Alongside the other funders we look forward to working with the CaCHE team to ensure that the Centre achieves their ambitious aims.”

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