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Nearly half of UK's social housing families have no money left after bills

31st October 2014

Families in social housing hit by the Tory-led coalition's major benefits changes are struggling with rising debts with almost half who owe money unsure when they’ll be able to pay it back or whether they ever will, a study study has found. The fifth report from Real Life Reform – a major study by social landlords into the lives of up to 100 northern households affected by welfare reforms - revealed that an increasing number of households are also worried about getting further into debt...

Sector urges right to buy reforms as proposal to relax rules goes to Lords

29th October 2014

The country's housing associations are urging the government to reform the right to buy (RtB), on the eve of a House of Lords debate on the controversial policy. With social landlords deeply concerned that RtB is depleting the UK's social housing stock for future generations, David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, has written a letter co-signed by 20 HAs to Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis, demanding that the coalition makes sure every home sold under the schem...

Housing association gets living wage accreditation

27th October 2014

A Cumbrian housing association has been accredited as a living wage employer by the Living Wage Foundation. The commitment will see everyone working at South Lakes Housing (SLH), regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors and suppliers, receive a minimum hourly wage of £7.65 - significantly higher than the national minimum wage of £6.31. The living wage, which is set independently and updated annually, is calculated according to the basic cost of li...

Council to deliver new homes after borrowing £15.5m against HRA

27th October 2014

A London borough has been granted permission to borrow an extra £15.5m against its Housing Revenue Account (HRA) to provide 99 new homes in the borough by 2017. Ealing Council plans to deliver a mixture of affordable rent and shared ownership homes. The additional funds the council is now able to borrow will help it continue its new build programme, which has delivered 100 new properties since 2009 and has a further 400 under construction. Ealing says it was successful in bidding for its addi...

Top businesses, charities to help households fight rising energy bills

23rd October 2014

Senior business and charity leaders have launched 'The Big Energy Vision', a new long-term campaign to encourage UK households to take control of rising energy bills. Those involved include: Kingfisher, John Lewis, Home Retail Group, National Trust, Citizens Advice, Calor, uSwitch, Energy Saving Trust, TrustMark, Energy UK, UK Green Building Council, Global Action Plan, Willmott Dixon, and Groundwork. It is being coordinated by not-for-profit organisations Forum for the Future and Behaviour Change. ...

HCA opens bidding for £800m of 2015-18 AHP funding

23rd October 2014

The HCA has invited housing providers across England to bid for a share of around £800 million of affordable homes programme (AHP) funding, using the continuous market engagement  (CME) approach. It’s the second phase of bidding under the Homes and Communities Agency’s £1.7 billion AHP, following confirmation in July of £886 million of initial allocations for 2,697 firm schemes that "will deliver 43,821 new affordable homes". The HCA adds that the "£1.7 ...

Housing association awarded A2 rating by Moody's

23rd October 2014

A West Midlands-based housing association has been assigned an A2 issuer rating by Moody's. The outlook on Herefordshire Housing's rating is 'stable' and according to Moody's reflects its "focus on social housing activities, balanced growth ambitions with clear tenure and geographic focus, simple organisational structure and historically strong coverage ratios". Additionally, Moody's says the A2 rating acknowledges the social landlord's "downward trend in operating margin and coverages in the medium te...

Opinion: West Ham's Olympic Stadium move is becoming a national scandal

22nd October 2014

By Andrew Boff, leader of the Greater London Authority Conservatives, who continues to question the value of the Premier League club's impending move to the Olympic Stadium. It is fast becoming a national scandal that new complexities in converting the Olympic Stadium is likely to set the final bill for the venue at £634 million. That substantial bill has been footed by the taxpayer. The decision to line up West Ham as a preferred tenant on a 99-year lease will mean that they contribute ju...

Opinion: Getting the right credit rating

22nd October 2014

By Kevin Hughes, Money Advice Service  Your credit rating can have a significant influence on your ability to borrow money, which in turn can then have consequences throughout your lifetime. Quite simply, if you have a poor credit rating you may be compromised when it comes to being accepted for a new credit card, a loan, or a mortgage. To make sure you can afford your mortgage, take a look at the Money Advice Service Mortgage Calculator.  If you have not been able to demonstrate that you can repay credit on time in the pa...

1,500 whg residents gain £300 each after money advice

22nd October 2014

West Midlands-based whg has helped its residents gain more than £450,000 in income over the last year, averaging £300 each for 1,500 residents. The landlord, which manages 19,000 homes, transformed its money advice and the way it collects rent ahead of the implementation of the bedroom tax and universal credit. The extra income was due to the support residents received over debt relief or unclaimed benefits. Altogether, 3,000 people were interviewed and given one-on-one advice as part o...