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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...

UK rents soaring while struggling tenants' see incomes freeze

21st August 2014

The UK's private rented sector (PRS) tenants are being increasingly squeezed as rental costs soar in the face of static incomes. According to SpareRoom.co.uk's research, PRS rents have risen by 10% while tenants’ accommodation budgets have actually fallen by 0.5% since 2009. And London room rents have soared by more than a quarter (26%) in the past five years - more than twice as fast as budgets, which have increased by just 10%. Most shockingly, SpareRoom.co.uk found that in Scotland flatsharers’ budgets have plummeted ...

Social housing sector is 'financially stable' says HCA, as money pours in from capital markets

20th August 2014

The Homes and Communities Agency has said that the social housing sector "continues to demonstrate financial stability and has access to sufficient finance". The HCA's latest quarterly survey (2014/15 Quarter 1) reveals that the sector is overall in a "strong position in relation to its future financing needs" with £13 billion in undrawn borrowing facilities and £4bn held in cash. The HCA's latest report is based on a survey of all private registered providers owning and/or managing ...

UK's first time buyers hit hardest as house prices continue to soar

20th August 2014

The UK's house prices have continued to soar, rising 10.2% in the year to June, the Office of National Statistics' latest figures show. And prices paid by first-time buyers were 12% higher in June this year than in June 2013, while costs for owner-occupiers increased by a significantly less 9.5%. Alex Hilton, director of campaign group Generation Rent, has slammed the increase in prices for first time buyers. “The price of a first home is 12% higher than it was last year – a bigger r...