New Research Centre to Inform Housing Policy in the UK

The University of St Andrews is a key partner in a new UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) announced today.


The Centre will launch on 1August 2017 for five years and will receive £6 million of funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), with support from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). A further £1.5m of funding will come from the consortium itself.


The new national research centre, which will be independent from government and other interests, is a collaboration between nine UK Universities and four non-HEI organisations. 


Housing has a considerable impact on our society and economy. Almost 1 in 10 British jobs are in the housing sector, and more than a fifth of household spending goes on rent, mortgage payments, home repairs, maintenance and improvements.  The availability, cost and design of housing impacts on people’s aspirations, their health and wellbeing, and even their children’s education. Failure of housing markets leads to wider social and economic problems, chief among them poverty and homelessness.


Dr Kim McKee, Director of the Centre for Housing Research, at St Andrews and Senior Lecturer in the School of Geography and Sustainable Development, is a key partner in the centre.  She brings expertise in housing inequalities, drawing on her recent research on ‘generation rent’ which highlights an emerging housing aspirations gap.


Dr McKee said:


“Housing is fundamental to understanding contemporary patterns of social-spatial inequality in the UK. It has an acute impact on a vast array of individual and societal outcomes, from health and well-being to economic growth.


“CaCHE provides a critical opportunity to mobilise inter-disciplinary expertise, and bring together key partners from across the UK and internationally, to develop real solutions for housing policy and practice.”


 CaCHE aims to advance knowledge of the housing system, provide robust evidence to inform housing policy and practice across the UK, and bring together a wide range of stakeholders with the goal of tackling housing problems at a national, devolved, regional, and local level.

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 (University of Glasgow) will be Principal Investigator and Director of CaCHE.  He said:


“I am delighted that the University of Glasgow and our partners will be taking the lead on this incredibly important subject.  The serious and complex problems of the housing system are too important to ignore. This is why I’m looking forward to this major new initiative making a serious contribution to tackling one of the most pressing policy problems in the UK today.”


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.”


“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.”