In multiple articles, Lord Bob Kerslake, who is the former head of the civil service in the UK, has suggested that one of the reasons Covid-19 has spread so much in the UK, is that it can be attributed to poor housing and overcrowding. Now the chairman of Peabody Housing Association and head of the Local Government Association (LGA), he states it is “clear that one of the reasons the UK has seen higher death rates than elsewhere is because of our inadequate housing system”. He goes onto suggest that the chancellor, whilst working on the economic stimulus package, could reduce the health disparities between areas by speeding up the availability of affordable good quality accommodation.
Also in the articles, it states that the Office for National Statistics (ONS), released data last month, that showed a direct correlation between the spread of the virus and the levels of poverty – one of the criteria for poverty includes overcrowding. The ONS shows that the four councils with the highest death rate also have the highest rate of known overcrowding. Seven of the most overcrowded boroughs in the UK are in the top 15 for covid-19 deaths per head of population. At the top of that list, is the London Borough of Newham in East London. John Gray from the Newham Borough Housing Team is quoted to say Covid-19 is “a housing disease”.
Kerslake is quoted as saying “…….it must surely be time to reunite housing and health policy and come up with an integrated plan to boost the health of the nation through providing quality homes.”