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Tories to slash benefit cap by further £3,000

27th January 2015

The Conservative Party has revealed plans to lower the benefit cap a further £3,000, if it wins May's general election. Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to reduce the cap to £23,000 should the party secure victory. The current £26,000-a-year cap on benefits that households are entitled to was brought in by the coalition government in 2012. The latest announcement mirrors the recommendations of the right wing think tank Policy Exchange which advised reducing the cap...

Right to buy set to have ‘devastating’ impact on London’s council home stocks

27th January 2015

The amount of homes sold off under the controversial right to buy scheme in London is set to far outstrip the number of new council homes built in the city, a new report has revealed. According to London Assembly Labour housing spokesperson Tom Copley’s study, the capital’s councils predict they will lose 1.5 council homes for every 1 they build under the government’s 'reinvigorated' RTB over the coming decade. Copley said that his ‘Out of Stock’ report found a “devastating scale of reduction in council housing stock” and called for local authorities to be given new powers to properly in...

Friday Feud: Right to buy – the disease that just won’t go away

23rd January 2015

24dash reporter Max Salsbury continues to bang on about right to buy... So, the social housing privatisation debate rumbles on – though it has changed its form. With the fireworks that followed the infamous Policy Exchange report that called for the creation of ‘free housing associations’ appearing to fizzle out a little, this week brought news of a Tory plan to extend the catastrophic right to buy to housing association properties. A little background. Under current rules, council tenants who have been ...

Sector reacts to Tory plan to sell housing association homes under right to buy

23rd January 2015

The Conservative Party is making plans to extend the controversial right to buy policy to housing association properties. Here the social housing sector reacts to the news: Colin Wiles, director of Wiles Consulting, said: “You can tell it's an election year. According to this week's Telegraph "senior Conservative cabinet ministers" are pushing the right to buy for housing association tenants with the receipt being used to "build more homes". Elsewhere in The Telegraph, ar...

Opinion: Making a stand against right to buy?

22nd January 2015

By Rob Gershon, council housing tenant and 24dash contributor As a staunch supporter of the SHOUT campaign, to which I have dedicated a little bit of my time and a number of my tweets, my initial reaction to the suggestion that full right to buy discounts could be extended to housing associations was one of cold horror. I'd like to say I was surprised, but of course I am not. The gradual realisation of the 'Localis' dream, as referenced by Colin Wiles last week, demands that tenants become 'custo...

Council to buy ‘modular’ homes to replace properties lost to right to buy

22nd January 2015

Sandwell Council is to buy 41 sustainable ‘modular’ homes in Smethwick to boost its housing stock and replace properties lost to the controversial right to buy scheme. The homes are being built by Mar City Homes Ltd using a modular construction system, meaning they are made indoors in factory conditions and then transported and assembled on permanent foundations on site. Councillor Ian Jones, cabinet member for jobs and economy, who has responsibility for the scheme, said: “The...

Tories plan to extend right to buy to housing association homes

22nd January 2015

The Conservative Party is planning to extend the controversial right to buy (RTB) policy to Britain's millions of housing association-owned properties. According to The Telegraph, the Tories are considering making the plan a key election pledge - which could potentially see millions of social homes offered for sale at huge discounts. Presently, tenants are able to buy their council-owned homes under RTB with discounts of up to £102,700 - but housing association tenants can only buy their h...

Right to buy facing death in Wales

22nd January 2015

The controversial right to buy (RTB) policy is facing extinction in Wales – if the Labour party wins the next Welsh Assembly election. With more than 130,000 Welsh council homes lost to RTB since its introduction by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1980, the Welsh government it to outline its plans to abolish the scheme in a white paper in an attempt to preserve the country's social housing stocks. Lesley Griffiths, Wales’ communities and tackling poverty minister, said: “Our...

DWP stopping benefits of 100 people with mental health problems everyday

21st January 2015

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is stopping the benefits of people with mental health problems at a rate of over 100 a day, new data has shown. A freedom of information (FOI) request by the Methodist Church revealed that benefit claimants judged as unfit to work due to mental health problems are more likely to be hit with sanctions than those suffering from other conditions. In March 2014 - the last month for which data is available - approximately 4,500 people with mental health pr...

National Housing Federation gives platform to controversial think tank report author

19th January 2015

The National Housing Federation (NHF) has published a blog by the author of a controversial report that called for the privatisation of housing associations.  Chris Walker, head of housing, planning and urban policy at right-wing think tank Policy Exchange, penned a piece that appeared on the NHF's website today that continued the themes outlined in his report from November.  In his blog, Mr Walker writes that housing associations can better the tackle UK's housing crisis if they were "unshackled from excessive financial regulatory judgements".  Policy Exchange's report 'Freeing Housing Associations' has been heav...