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Opinion: Managing right to buy

20th November 2014

By Jonathan Lawn, head of communications, Phoenix Community Housing “SOLD this wk under #righttobuy, 1-bed flat BR1, rent was £89, 15 years tenancy, valued £146k, discount £102.7k, sold £43.3k #rtbdebate” Since October we’ve been weeting these details of every RTB sale of our homes. Using the hashtag #rtbdebate, we’re asking one simple question: Can we hope to replace homes sold through RTB with new social housing, on a one-to-one basis? We thin...

Opinion: Boris gets very angry after man asks question

20th November 2014

Max Salsbury watches the fun and games at yesterday's London Assembly party The normally rakish Boris Johnson lost the plot yesterday because a man asked him a question. And quite so – questions are infuriating!  The insolent Andrew Dismore, Labour assembly member for Barnet and Camden, wafted a leaked GLA policy paper at the normally sedate Johnson which revealed plans to cut the capital’s education and youth services by 90%.  Aghast, Boris first attempted to deny any knowle...

Deprived areas can rebalance UK economy, says Big Issue Invest report

20th November 2014

The UK economy can be successfully rebalanced by focusing on deprived areas outside of London, according to new research by Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue.  The research, commissioned by finance provider Enterprise Ventures, looks at specific ways to create a more balanced economy – including investing in SMEs in the regions, concentrating on deprived areas and focusing on priority sectors, such as manufacturing and exports. It then measures Enterprise Ventu...

Opinion: Decrease in gender pay gap welcome, but small comfort for low paid women

20th November 2014

Dr Eva Neitzert, deputy CEO of the Fawcett Society, comments on the publication of the 2014 ONS Annual Survey of Hourly Earnings bulletin  We are pleased to welcome figures that show the gender pay gap – one of the key indicators of inequality between women and men – has narrowed by 1.5% from last year to 17.6% (mean figure for all work excluding overtime). This means that women now earn 82p for every £1 a man earns.  This narrowing of the gap marks an important ste...

Edinburgh's Blackwood looks beyond high street for £5m loan

20th November 2014

Scottish housing and care provider Blackwood has warned that high street banks are lacking flexibility after agreeing a 25-year loan worth £5 million with ethical investor Triodos Bank. The Edinburgh-based charity has more than 1,500 homes throughout the country to help those who are disabled, elderly or have sensory impairments to live more independently.  Blackwood chief executive Fanchea Kelly said high street banks were falling behind. "We were naturally drawn to an ethical bank. We wanted to f...

Sigma Capital Group plans over 900 PRS homes in Manchester, Liverpool

19th November 2014

Sigma Capital Group has announced a private rented sector (PRS) joint venture with Gatehouse Bank with construction starting this week on 927 new rental homes in Manchester and Liverpool. The residential and urban regeneration group said total development costs were around £100 million, which it described as one of the largest PRS platforms in the UK. The 927 new homes will be constructed across 14 sites in the North West - 10 in Greater Manchester and four in the Liverpool area. The new...

Young renters start earning real money on Wednesday, poll shows

19th November 2014

Young people across the UK spend the first two days of the working week paying for their rent, according to a survey by the TUC and Generation Rent. They are paying an average rent-to-salary ratio (the proportion of a person's pay taken up by their rent) of 41% while 31% had a rent increase in the last year, Generation Rent director Alex Hilton said: "Each week, the average young worker hands over two days of their wages to their landlord, leaving them with very little money to spend or save....

Opinion: Why the JRF has got it wrong

19th November 2014

By David Lawrenson, owner of property consultancy LettingFocus.com The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (the JRF) this week issued a report that said by 2040, people who rent will be more than twice as likely to be living in poverty than homeowners. The JRF also predicted private rental costs to rise 90%, twice as fast as incomes. At LettingFocus.com, we find it hard to agree with the JRF. Take private rent inflation in London, a region that has one of the highest rates of rental inflatio...

Suffering tenants clueless about financial help available

19th November 2014

Over two thirds of social housing tenants suffering financial hardship are in the dark about the support available to them through charitable grants, new research has shown. Charity Turn2us found that 69% of its users living in social housing were completely unaware of charitable grants, while 38% had been struggling financially for over a year before checking what support could be available to them. And as a result of their situation, 71% have been forced to cut back on food and heating, and 68%...

London to become housing no go zone for incomers

19th November 2014

London’s housing market has surged away from the rest of the country at such a rate that buying a home in the capital could soon become off limits for anyone whose parents do not already have a stake in the property wealth there, a study has revealed.  Out today, the National Housing Federation’s ‘Broken Market, Broken Dreams’ report found that between 2006 and 2012 the largest economic crash this country has faced caused a widening gap between the property wealth held by h...