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Government shreds vital safety net for poorest people, says council

18th December 2014

A London local authority has slammed the government for axing a “vital safety net” for some the poorest residents in its borough. Islington Council says that despite sustained and coordinated pressure from itself, dozens of other local authorities, charities and MPs to save the national £174 million Local Welfare Fund, the government has decided to press ahead with cutting it. After the government announced plans to axe the fund last Christmas, Islington and charity Child Poverty Ac...

‘Tremendous future’ for Tottenham as £100 million deal secured

17th December 2014

Haringey Council has signed a new deal that it claims will bring more than £100 million of investment and hundreds of ‘affordable’ homes to Tottenham.  Subject to planning permission, developer Grainger is set to redevelop the ageing Apex House site in Seven Sisters Road into nearly 100 new homes.  According to the council, the transformation of the Apex House site, together with the neighbouring Wards Corner scheme, will deliver:  Nearly 300 new homes for &ls...

CIH launches value for money investigation

17th December 2014

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Scotland has begun an exploration of value for money in a Scottish context. Along with social landlord the Wheatley Group and HouseMark Scotland, the CIH intends to produce a report providing practical advice on how to get a grip on value for money (VFM) - which is due to be published in summer 2015. They are aiming to shape it around the Scottish social housing experience, and are inviting landlords to make contributions and put a distinctly Scottish slant o...

One in six Brits have to borrow to pay rent or mortgage

17th December 2014

One in six Brits paid their mortgage or rent on credit in October, research has revealed. The Debt Advisory Centre’s (DAC) analysis found that people aged 18–24 were the most likely to have borrowed money to pay their housing costs, with nearly one in three (29%) admitting to doing so to avoid missing their payment. According DAC’s survey, one in 12 people (8%) are in arrears with either their rent or their mortgage. Of these, 66% were behind by one month; 20% were in arrears by 2-3...

Opinion: When The Politics of Loathing crash into the lives of ordinary people

17th December 2014

By Mike Owen, chief executive, Merthyr Valleys Homes I frequently weigh up how good I am as a chief executive and how much good the organisation I work for does.  Things like providing and repairing homes, paying staff a living wage, training and supporting social enterprise, providing free Wi-Fi and fighting for community cohesion always make me feel good.  I then measure this against the bad things we do like collecting rent from people who cannot pay because of terrible governmen...

A new era for New Era? MP calls for estate to be sold to housing association

17th December 2014

Meg Hillier, Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, argues that a housing association should step in and save the controversial New Era estate. The New Era estate in Hoxton has become a symbol of the housing challenges facing London. New Era has been captured as a property investment but it has been peoples’ homes for 80 years. Originally built in the 1930s, the 96 flats have been long term homes for a number of local families including many born in the area or on the...

England’s housing associations to increase profitability in 2015, says Moody’s

12th December 2014

England’s housing associations will see their sales turnover increase in 2015 while their gearing will remain broadly stable, according to Moody's Investors Service. In a report published today, the rating agency reveals that it expects to see turnover from higher-risk sales activity to increase to £1.4 billion by 2016 compared with £0.9 billion in 2014. However, levels of exposure will vary across the sector, with more than a third of rated entities maintaining low exposure, Mo...

Council commits to ‘radical’ housebuilding programme

11th December 2014

Waltham Forest Council’s cabinet says it has committed to a “radical” housebuilding programme, the likes of which the borough has not seen for generations. The council has decided to expand the scale of its housing programme to build hundreds more homes every year, addressing the fact that housing supply in the area is “falling woefully behind demand”. Phase one of the programme will see 209 homes built on sites around the borough including properties on the Marlowe R...

Opinion: Benefit sanctions and the re-emergence of street begging

9th December 2014

By Alan Fraser, CEO, YMCA Birmingham Have you noticed an increase in street begging in recent months?  I know I have, and it has come as something of a surprise.  After all, we seem as a society to have slowly eradicated begging as a social phenomenon thanks to the support services that are now in place to work with those living on the streets. For many years now, when people find out that I work for YMCA, one of the first questions I get asked is, ‘So should I give money to beg...

Dead being buried in back gardens as costs soar 87%, warns MP

9th December 2014

Soaring funeral costs are driving people to bury their dead relatives in their own back gardens, an MP has warned. Speaking in the House of Commons, Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck said that huge price rises were making even basic funerals unaffordable for many, forcing some to hold "do it yourself" services. The South Shields MP, who has now called for the introduction of a bill that will review costs and for the creation of an affordable service, revealed that the average funeral now cost £...