10th March 2014
The Scottish government should be given greater powers over welfare, a new report has argued.
In its study, think tank IPPR calls for the devolution of some benefits to Scotland, as well as giving devolved governments the power to supplement UK levels of welfare to reflect local circumstances and voter choice.
IPPR argues that such a move would give devolved institutions more levers to improve social and economic outcomes and leave them more able to pursue "joined-up policy".
The authors argue that it w...
7th March 2014
By Alistair McIntosh, chief executive, Housing Quality Network
Lie lie lie lie liar you lie lie lie lie
Tell me why tell me why
Why d’you have to lie
Should’ve realised that you
Should’ve told the truth
You know what I’ll do
When the Sex Pistols were angry, they were angry. These are the opening lines to their song called ‘Liar’. I thought of it when I read the latest guide for auditors looking at housing associations*.
6th March 2014
By Sarah Baker, learning & development specialist, Righttrack Consultancy
You may well be wondering what on earth I am recruiting for…. Well, it’s not a superhero although some would argue they are often expected to be one. This is an advertisement for the new wave of front line social housing staff; housing officers, community liaison officers, tenancy support and the like. In the wake of the changes brought about by the Welfare Reform Act, in particular universal credit...
4th March 2014
A review of green belt policy and a more streamlined planning process will be required if a future Labour government is to achieve the party's target of building 200,000 homes a year by 2020, the British Property Federation has claimed.
In response to the party’s investigation into curing the UK's housing crisis - the Lyons Review - the BPF has said that for the target to be met, every housing tenure will need to be “firing on all cylinders” and politicians will have to avoid ...
4th March 2014
By Tom Hopkins, chief executive, WATMOS Community Homes
I note with interest that many registered providers are facing the challenges of the regulator’s value for money tests.
Here at WATMOS Community Homes we uniquely deliver our services through a partnership of 11 very diverse and empowered tenant management organisation models located in the West Midlands and London.
After 10 years in business, we, through our TMOs, now provide excellent housing services which allow our residents to b...
27th February 2014
The majority of Liberal Democrat MPs voted to close a loophole in the bedroom tax during a House of Commons motion yesterday.
Of parliament's 57 Lib Dems, 34 voted to close the loophole, which exempts people who have been continuously claiming housing benefit since 1996 from the same residence from paying the controversial under-occupancy charge, with none voting to leave it in place.
High profile Lib Dems who voted to close the loophole included party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Chie...
26th February 2014
Labour has lost a motion to stop the Tory-led coalition closing a loophole in the bedroom tax.
MPs voted by a majority of 304 to 253 to close the loophole, which exempts social housing tenants who have lived in the same residence since 1996 while continually claiming housing benefit from paying the controversial under-occupancy charge.
Labour MP Chris Bryant, the shadow welfare reform minister, tweeted: "Once again, callous Tories and LibDems have voted against doing the decent thing on the Bedroom-Tax. L...
26th February 2014
MPs are gathered in the House of Commons this afternoon to potentially give a 'vote of no confidence' on the government's bedroom tax.
Earlier this year it was discovered that the Department for Work and Pensions had overlooked key legislation when drafting the controversial under-occupancy policy, which exempts anybody who has been claiming housing benefit continuously from the same residence since 1996 from its effects.
The government moved to close the loophole this month, which some campaigners...
25th February 2014
Government plans to allow London property owners to let out their flats to tourists without getting planning permission will drain the life out of the West End, Westminster's Labour group has warned.
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins yesterday pledged to address the “outdated and unworkable” laws that prevent London homeowners renting their properties out on short-term lets to tourists.
But Labour councillors have claimed that such a move will turn many West End mansion blocks in to sho...
20th February 2014
The UK's social housing sector remains in a financially strong position, according to the Homes and Communities Agency's latest quarterly survey.
The report concludes that the sector continues to have access to sufficient finance, with 92% of providers having sufficient facilities to last 12 months or more. New facilities of £2.1 billion were arranged in the quarter, with 74% coming from capital market funding including private placements.
According to the HCA, the sector is continuing to...