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Opinion: Councils need to stop funding housing associations

27th January 2015

Last week, councillor Mike Iszatt criticised Broxbourne Borough Council’s funding of housing associations. Here, cllr Iszatt outlines his concerns about the funding of HAs and the entry criteria for housing waiting lists… In the 80s, Margaret Thatcher started making us a nation of homeowners. Is it the government’s intention that we became a nation of housing association tenants? With 40% of larger developments having to be made up of affordable homes in our borough, it certainl...

Exclusive: The Connected Housing top 150 revealed

27th January 2015

By Anne McCrossan, founding partner, Visceral Business  The findings from the 2014 Connected Housing study are released today - and the key message for housing organisations ‘going digital’ is not all about the tech.  The report shows a substantial increase in activity happening online in housing, although some organisations such as Metropolitan are yet to venture into using social media.  However, the percentage of the Top 100 housing organisations that are now digit...

Over 100 ‘affordable’ homes coming to Peckham

27th January 2015

A ground breaking event has marked the start of a development that will bring 300 new homes to Peckham – over a third of which will be affordable. Southwark Council is working with its development partner Notting Hill Housing Trust to build 333 homes on the site of the old Wooddene block on the Acorn Estate along Queens Road. The mixed-tenure scheme, which was given planning consent in July 2013, will include 54 homes for social rent; 108 for market rent; 63 for shared ownership (section 106); 3...

£1 million in extra funding for tenants secured by housing association

27th January 2015

One of London’s largest housing associations has managed to secure £1 million in additional benefit income for its tenants over the past two years.  Network Housing Group's (NHG) welfare advisors teamed up with Brent Community Law Centre to provide tenants with free, independent legal advice about welfare benefits, debt, employment, housing and immigration services.  Susmita Sen, executive director of Network Stadium Housing Association, said: “We’re pleased that we&...

Housing associations transfer homes

27th January 2015

Two housing associations have engaged in a stock transfer, in an effort to give tenants a "more localised service". Housing Solutions transferred 65 properties in the village of Mapledurwell, near Basingstoke, to Sovereign Housing Association yesterday. The homes include 32 for shared ownership, 16 for leasehold and 17 for general needs rent. The properties add to Sovereign's already large portfolio of 37,500 homes. Sovereign’s regional director for Hampshire, Luke Bingham, said: “We ...

Welfare fund applications soar by a third

27th January 2015

The number of Scottish households applying for welfare assistance soared by a third last year, new figures have shown. The Scottish government’s latest Welfare Fund statistics show that during the most recent quarter (July to September 2014) 52,400 applications were made, an increase of 33% on the same quarter in 2013. The fund saw 25,800 crisis grants awarded, 32% more than the same quarter last year, which were predominantly for food, heating costs and other living expenses, with an average ...

Housing associations face director level 'talent deficit'

27th January 2015

Housing associations face a 'talent deficit' because senior management is pursuing opportunities in the private sector where salaries are higher, a report revealed today. HA directors earn, on average, £69,000 - over 12% less than their private sector equivalent, which has contributed, along with a lack of career progression, to a gradual erosion of top talent. The research from recruitment company Executive Headhunters also showed that housing association directors earn, on average, 33% ...

London's residential land prices up 24%

27th January 2015

Residential land values in prime central London climbed by 6.4% in 2014's quarter 4, taking the annual rise to a massive 24%. According to Knight Frank LLP's latest figures, 2014's strong price growth means that the cost of land in central London has soared by an astonishing 48% since September 2011. However, Knight Frank's Residential Development Land Index reveals that, though prices may have shot through the roof in the capital, the growth in land values across England and Wales slowed in 2014's...

Tories to slash benefit cap by further £3,000

27th January 2015

The Conservative Party has revealed plans to lower the benefit cap a further £3,000, if it wins May's general election. Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to reduce the cap to £23,000 should the party secure victory. The current £26,000-a-year cap on benefits that households are entitled to was brought in by the coalition government in 2012. The latest announcement mirrors the recommendations of the right wing think tank Policy Exchange which advised reducing the cap...

Right to buy set to have ‘devastating’ impact on London’s council home stocks

27th January 2015

The amount of homes sold off under the controversial right to buy scheme in London is set to far outstrip the number of new council homes built in the city, a new report has revealed. According to London Assembly Labour housing spokesperson Tom Copley’s study, the capital’s councils predict they will lose 1.5 council homes for every 1 they build under the government’s 'reinvigorated' RTB over the coming decade. Copley said that his ‘Out of Stock’ report found a “devastating scale of reduction in council housing stock” and called for local authorities to be given new powers to properly in...