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'Taxpayers fuelling housing bubble and subsidising poor quality homes'

24th April 2014

Taxpayers are fuelling a housing bubble and subsidising the worst quality housing while landlords rake in housing benefit, a campaign group has claimed. Generation Rent has responded to figures from the Department for Work and Pensions which predict that the housing benefit bill for private sector tenants will rise in real terms from £9.5 billion in 2013/14 to £10.0bn in 2018/19, while the number of tenants claiming benefit will increase by more than 10%, from 1,674,000 to 1,852,000...

Credit union in 'Europe's richest borough' coverts wealthy residents

23rd April 2014

A credit union in the ‘richest borough in Europe’ is making a play for more of its wealthy residents to get on board to support some of the area’s estimated 24,500 struggling families. YourCU is urging community-minded people and local residents’ associations, garden square committees and churches in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea to invest up to £15,000 with them. The Kensington High Street-based union is paying 1.6% on dividend paying corporate accoun...

Councils must make further savings on £5 billion spend

23rd April 2014

Scotland's local authorities have improved how they manage procurement but they can achieve further benefits and savings on their £5.4 billion spend, according to the Accounts Commission. Every year the country's councils spend around £1,010 for every person on procurement buying goods and services they need - ranging from construction materials to IT and social care. Procurement savings of £71 million were reported in 2012/13. In a report published today, the commission says cou...

Oxfam: Welfare reform has pushed over a million households into greater poverty

22nd April 2014

Oxfam has warned that 1.75 million households have seen their finances tumble in the wake of the government's welfare reforms. A report by the charity and the New Policy Institute reveals that the Tory-led coalition's slashing of benefit entitlements has come at a time when prices are rising. Oxfam says that this has resulted in job seekers, carers, single parents and those with a disability or illness who are unable to work being pushed deeper into poverty. The report reveals that 300,000 Br...

The London borough where 1 in 5 aren't paid the legally required minimum wage

17th April 2014

The Mayor of Newham has called on the government to give more powers to local authorities to enforce against employers who don't pay the minimum wage, after research found almost one in five residents in the borough take home less than £6.19 an hour. Sir Robin Wales has asked for tougher action after Ipsos MORI's study revealed that many employers are currently breaking the law with their current wage structures. The research also showed that nearly half of all residents in work do not r...

Housing group pours £1.5m into local communities

17th April 2014

Lancashire-based social landlord Progress Housing Group has made a £1.5 million fund available to communities in South Ribble and Fylde. Progress's community investment fund offers tenants and community groups the opportunity to put forward their ideas for improving the areas in which they live. Interested parties can bid for funding from the £1.5m pot. A customer panel, made up of tenants, evaluates each submission on its long-term benefits for a whole community and decides which wi...

Hull commits £75 to housing budget

17th April 2014

Hull City Council says it has committed to one of the largest budgets for housing in the country. The local authority has allocated almost £75 million to housing works through the city's revenue and capital housing budget, covering repairs, maintenance, energy efficiency works, improvements to sheltered housing and regeneration schemes. The budget will also be used to bring empty homes and buildings back into use and to build new homes. According to the council, its housing spend will prov...

Bedroom tax preparations pay off for social landlord as arrears drop

16th April 2014

A social landlord has hailed its preparations for the government's welfare reforms as the driver for a "significant reduction" in rent arrears. Around 2,500 of Orbit's households have been hit by the bedroom tax, and 167 have seen their benefits reduced as a consequence of exceeding the overall weekly cap. Orbit’s says it work on addressing the changes to the benefit system reduced arrears by around £210,000, while 275 'under-occupiers' have been successfully down-sized. The 38,000-home provider ha...

Housing association secures £75m for new homes

16th April 2014

L&Q has secured a £75 million finance package to develop and purchase new property. The 70,000-home provider says the deal with HSBC Corporate Banking Real Estate will help to bring more 'affordable' housing to London and the South East. Last year, L&Q started or completed work on over 3,000 new homes, and currently has a further 12,000 homes in the pipeline. Andy Armstrong, HSBC's head of corporate banking real estate for Europe, said: “There has been a lot of comment o...

Financial situation deteriorating for majority of low income social housing tenants

16th April 2014

Almost two thirds of social housing households feel that their financial situation has worsened in the last year, a survey has revealed. The study, by charity Turn2us, has found that on average, people living in social housing are forced to spend over half (55%) of their monthly income on utility bills and food. Meanwhile, those living in the private rented sector have to spend over a quarter (26%) of their income on rent. Worryingly, just under a half (47%) of social housing tenants say their outgo...