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Opinion: Latest insolvency statictics

29th July 2015

The quarterly insolvency statistics (for April-June 2015) have been published by the Insolvency Service today. Phillip Sykes, president of R3, the insolvency trade body, comments: Personal insolvencies down: The return of rising wages (in real terms) has contributed to a sharp drop in personal insolvency numbers in the past year. Individual Voluntary Arrangements, which are often a good indicator of people struggling with the cost of living, have fallen dramatically: a year ago they ...

Renters on the London living wage priced out of every postcode

27th July 2015

The capital is on the verge of a labour crisis as low-paid workers are unable to afford sky-high London room rents, according to data from flat and house share site SpareRoom.co.uk. Flat sharing is the most affordable way to rent, yet the research reveals those earning the London living wage of £9.15 per hour would have to budget more than half their take-home pay for rent. Affordable rent is typically classed as less than 35% of a person’s net earnings. The average weekly income on the Lon...

Orbit releases 2014/15 financial results

27th July 2015

Orbit Group have released their 2014/15 financial results, which show the 39,000-home housing association, completed a very successful 2014/15 financial year, meeting or exceeding its business plan targets and delivering a profit of £45.4m to invest in its people, communities and homes. According to the group, the organisation’s profit is a result of effective treasury management, expanding its range of housing solutions, and a focus on efficiency and value for money, keeping it firmly...

Oxford Equity Loan offers housing lifeline to teachers

27th July 2015

Oxford City Council has teamed up with a leading Oxfordshire housing association to provide a new £1.5 million loan scheme to help the city’s teachers get on the housing ladder. Catalyst Housing and Oxford City Council have launched the Oxford Equity Loan scheme today, to teachers at selected Oxford schools. The scheme provides a low-cost equity loan, free for the first two years, which when taken up in addition to a normal mortgage, could enable teachers in the city to buy a home ne...

Survey reveals that more than a third of the UK support welfare cuts

27th July 2015

A recent survey, conducted by RP Assure, asked 1120 participants which of the conservative party’s visions for welfare reform they supported - providing insight into public opinion surrounding these hotly debated changes to the UK’s welfare system. Surprisingly, the survey reveals that 38.5% of people are in favour of reducing the benefit cap to £23k - making it the most ‘popular’ welfare cut to come from the conservative manifesto. At the other end of the scale, the Uni...

65% of landlords considering rent rises following budget

27th July 2015

Interim findings from a survey of landlords by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has found that 65% are now considering increasing rents as a direct result of the budget. The research undermines the government’s case that its changes to the way landlords are taxed will not increase rents. The chancellor announced earlier this month that mortgage interest relief for residential landlords would be restricted to the basic rate of income tax. Also landlords will no longer be entit...

Opinion: Waiting for the whistle

24th July 2015

By Colin Wiles, housing consultant and SHOUT campaigner: Classical warfare dictates that you soften up your enemy before launching a full-frontal assault. This usually involves an artillery barrage from a safe distance before the troops are sent over the top. In the case of housing associations it appears that the softening up process has now begun. This week we’ve seen attacks upon housing associations in The Times, The Spectator and on Channel 4 News, citing their failure to build ...

Call for evidence on DWP benefit delivery

23rd July 2015

The Work and Pensions Committee is calling for evidence on the accuracy and timeliness of benefit delivery by the DWP. The inquiry is looking into the problems that may occur when benefits are underpaid or delayed, leaving some people unable to heat their homes, or resorting to food banks while waiting for their claim to be processed.  The Committee invites written evidence on:  the extent to which the DWP delivers benefit and universal credit payments correctly and promptly the impact of errors and d...

Moody's 'negative outlook' for social housing sector

22nd July 2015

Moody's says housing associations could struggle to maintain their current financial performance as a result of government policies and has switched to a negative outlook for the sector. The credit rating agency’s '2015 Outlook Update' is the latest unwelcome news for a sector struggling against a barrage of hammer blows, including the annual rent reductions, the planned right to buy extension and ongoing welfare reforms. "The cumulative impact of recent changes in government policy have crea...

Over 50% of under 40s will rent their homes

22nd July 2015

More than half of the under 40s will be renting homes from private landlords in the UK in 10 years' time, accountancy firm PwC has predicted. It suggests house prices will rise at an average of 5% a year, pricing the typical home at £360,000 by 2020. Industry figures show that first-time buyers typically need to find a deposit of 18% to secure a mortgage. Using PwC data that would equate to a requirement for £64,800 in savings to get on the property ladder in 2020. "Driven by a dec...