SIR – The Treasury, in rejecting all economic policies but immediate cost-cutting, is lagging behind current thinking. We need to move away from use of a “single bottom line” of profit to provide a case for investment, towards a “triple bottom line”, taking into account people, planet and profit.
Nowhere is the need for this approach more obvious than in house building. Some 3.5 million households need affordable homes; the planet could benefit from fuel-saving houses, and the building industry from employment and profit.
A report from the Pro-Housing Alliance suggests the Treasury should consider that future cost savings in the NHS, education and other sectors – because of the improved health of families no longer encumbered by bad housing – would exceed the cost of borrowing £50 billion a year to build 500,000 green homes. The capital cost would be recovered by the sale or rental of the houses.
Steve Battersby President, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
Peter Ambrose Visiting Professor in Housing and Health, Brighton University
Stephen Hill Director, C2O Futureplanners
Angela Mawle Chief Executive, UK Public Health Association
Peter Archer Chairman, Care and Repair England
Adrian Cooper Director, Team Homes
Rev Paul Nicolson Chairman, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust,