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Revealed: Britain's last remaining place with 'easily affordable' housing

1st September 2014

Only one of Britain’s local authority areas still contains 'easily affordable' housing, a new report has revealed. According to the TUC's analysis of analysis of median salaries and house prices by local authority area, only Copeland in the Lake District contains properties that cost less than three times the average annual salary. The study found that in 1997 around one in five local authority areas had homes that were ‘easily affordable’. In Copeland's neighbouring local auth...

20% of borough's right to buy council homes in hands of 'extortionate' private landlords

29th August 2014

A fifth of a London borough's former council homes sold off under the controversial right to buy scheme are in the hands of private landlords charging "extortionate rents" a councillor has said. According to Camden Council's cabinet member for finance and technology policy, Theo Blackwell, many people now renting homes that used to belong to the local authority are being supported by the taxpayer, as private landlords continue to "exploit" the right to buy policy. Despite the situation in Camden, Housi...

Old London garage's value outstrips French cottage by £20,000

29th August 2014

In yet another crazy twist to the ongoing London property price saga, a shabby-looking garage has come on the market for £50,000 - nearly £20,000 more than an idyllic two-bed cottage in northern France. According to the estate agent, the garage near Wandsworth Common is "good-sized" and offers "secure parking or fantastic storage space". Meanwhile, the rustic cottage in Brittany is on the market for €40,000, around £31,000. The agent describes the dwelling as "the perfect holiday hide-away or bijou residence" (that's the cottage, not the garage). Set in the village of Saint...

Amount of UK 'property millionaires' doubles in a year

26th August 2014

The number of Britain's homeowners classed as 'property millionaires' has almost doubled in the last year, rising by 49%. According to property website Zoopla, there are now 484,081 British homes valued at or above £1 million. And Zoopla's Property Rich List 2014 shows that 10,613 British streets have an average property value of £1m+, up 29% on 2013. The list reveals that the 10 most expensive streets in Britain have seen property values grow 12.9% over the last year, compared to ...

TUC: Welfare reforms 'spectacularly failing' PM's new family test

22nd August 2014

The majority of the Tory-led coalition's welfare reforms will fall on working families, according to a new report by the TUC. The union body says the cuts to state welfare have already failed Prime Minister David Cameron's new ‘family test’ in "spectacular fashion" with working parents and their children billions of pounds worse off as a result. Cameron announced this week that, from October, every new domestic policy "will be examined for its impact on the family". The TUC's analysis - which ...

Home Group’s plans for its £62m surplus

22nd August 2014

By Mark Henderson, chief executive, Home Group Anyone browsing the webpages of social housing publications recently can’t fail to have noticed one thing – it’s that time of year when associations post their annual reports. The sector has been keen to shout about how despite tough times many providers have increased or posted record surpluses. The sums involved are not inconsiderable. In Home Group’s case we recorded a £62.1m operating surplus in the last year and that...

Dozens of new 'affordable' homes for Stafford

22nd August 2014

A Stafford-based housing association is set to build dozens of new 'affordable' homes after securing £2.24 million from the Homes and Communities Agency. A number of Stafford and Rural Homes' (SARH) development projects have been given the green light after the regulator agreed to meet up to 20% of the overall costs. SARH will build 110 homes across Stafford on sites initially put forward for development "thanks to a close working relationship between SARH and Stafford Borough Council". The p...

Housing minister Brandon Lewis receives £10,000 donation from Russian wind farm oligarch

21st August 2014

A Russian oligarch has donated £10,000 to Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis. Alexander Temerko's largesse to the MP came via his company Offshore Group Newcastle (OGN), which specialises in offshore wind, and gas and oil platforms. Mr Lewis, who took up the housing brief in July, is an enthusiast of renewable energy, and as planning minister is responsible for offshore wind farm developments. On his website, the MP is critical of inland wind farm developments but supportive of sea-based schemes. Over the ...

Alcohol abuse costing Greater Manchester £1.2bn a year

21st August 2014

The effects of excessive alcohol consumption are costing Greater Manchester £1.2 billion a year, a new report has revealed. The costs equate to £436 per person in the region. The Greater Manchester Combined Authority's (GMCA) report says a region-wide alcohol strategy is needed to address the problem. Such a strategy would involve a commitment from all 10 councils - as well as the police and health services - to work together to tackle the causes and effects of alcohol abuse. The ...

12% more children in council care at cost of £3.4 billion

21st August 2014

The number of children in the care of councils in England rose by 12%, or 7,210, over a four-year period ending on 31 March 2013, according to a report by the Audit Commission. In total, 68,110 children were in care on this date, or 0.6% of all children in England under the age of 18, with 42,228 as a result of abuse or neglect. Total cost was £3.4 billion, said the commission, whose role is to protect the public purse. Despite the 12% rise, councils’ costs increased by only 4% natio...