‘Levelling up starts in homes’: Reflections from Andy Burnham’s keynote speech at Housing 2021

Posted on: 28 October, 2021

Last month, we attended Housing 2021 in Manchester. As well as networking, we listened in to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham’s keynote speech in which he highlighted how housing should be the number one priority for government in terms of its social policy. Here are a few of our takeaways from the speech…

Andy Burnham speaking at Housing 2021

‘You cannot have good health without good housing’

Andy claimed that the feeling of security brought about by having safe and consistent housing can solve many social issues and serve as a catalyst to improve wellbeing. At UCEM, we strongly support this statement. The social value brought about by democratising the built environment as an industry can go a long way to improving the lives of those who are currently most affected by the lack of good-quality, stable housing.


Currently, the UK’s housing stock is some of the most poorly insulated and expensive to fuel in Europe. The current protests from Insulate Britain have highlighted this major problem, noting that 15% of the UK’s total emissions are from heating homes and an estimated four million households experience fuel poverty.

Andy addressed the low quality of existing housing stock in the UK, citing that 4 in 10 privately rented properties in Greater Manchester are below the Decent Homes Standard. He posited that retrofitting existing housing stock would be an efficient way to both decarbonise homes and improve living standards.

Where UCEM fits in

We embed sustainability within all our programmes to influence our students to apply best practice to their professional activities. Promoting and instilling values of diversity, professionalism and sustainability is pivotal to ensure our homes and the wider built environment are safe places for us to live, work and enjoy life.

With a  , the UK desperately needs more built environment practitioners to undertake retrofitting and decarbonisation works. Upskilling the existing workforce is also a key part of achieving these sustainability aims.

Our programmes are built for life – to protect our lives and those of future generations. Sustainable development is vital to preserve this.