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Opinion: Tory disabilities minister blames Lib Dems for disabled people bedroom tax fiasco

4th March 2015

By Rob Gershon, 24dash correspondent In a surprise announcement from minister for disabled people Mark Harper yesterday, it was revealed that the reason the Department for Work and Pensions has been unable to respond to a carefully researched, well-evidenced report into ‘Support for Housing Costs in a reformed welfare system’ is the Liberal Democrats.  No detail was given into the rift that has formed between the parties that has led to this inaction, but from the reaction of the Liberal Demo...

Bedroom tax victims facing council tax support cut double whammy

27th February 2015

Thousands of people hit by the Tory-led coalition's controversial bedroom tax may also be facing cuts to council tax support, new research has revealed. A study by the New Policy Institute (NPI) shows that 270,000 people affected by the under-occupancy policy will have their council tax benefit slashed as well. Victims of the bedroom tax have seen their housing benefit slashed by £15.61 a week on average, and they are also having to pay £2.86 a week in rates since communities secretary Eric P...

No Love for the bedroom tax - MP fights on against policy

26th February 2015

A Labour MP has renewed his commitment to fight the bedroom tax during his remaining time in parliament. Edmonton MP Andy Love, who will resign his seat at this year's general election, has long campaigned for an end to the government's controversial under-occupancy policy. As of August 2014 (the most recently available data), the Department for Work and Pensions' figures show that 599 households in Edmonton have been hit by the bedroom tax. Love has highlighted that just before the bedroom tax'...

‘PRS tenants being failed by poor enforcement’

26th February 2015

Private rented sector (PRS) landlords are calling on the UK’s next government to undertake a review of the enforcement of regulations in the industry. According to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), tenants are being let down by a failure to properly enforce the powers already available to tackle poor housing conditions. Last week, Liverpool City Council announced plans for the introduction of the country’s largest landlord licensing scheme. But the RLA has highlighted that...

Opinion: You should have stood up and thumped him, Tony

25th February 2015

By Tony Stacey, CEO of South Yorkshire Housing Association, and chair of the PlaceShapers Group  "You should have stood up and thumped him, Tony. I would have done." This was said to me by the well-respected chair of one of our neighbours in Yorkshire after I challenged the Policy Exchange's Chris Walker at today’s National Housing Federation's Leaders' Forum. The last time I was on the receiving end of name-calling was in the school playground. Year 8, I think it was. In response to...

Opinion: Reading the House of Cards – the UK’s parties’ plans for housing

25th February 2015

By Robert Flint, solicitor, Winckworth Sherwood  The shuffling of the pack due to take place in the general election on 7 May looks set to produce either a minority government or a multi-coloured coalition. But what will the new House of Cards deal the housing market?  Labour puts their cards on the table, planning to build 200,000 homes a year by 2020. This target is for the parliament-after-next of course, so the relevance to this election is dubious.  They pledge to unblock t...

Social landlord gets HCA upgrade

25th February 2015

A social landlord has been given a regulatory upgrade by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). Johnnie Johnson Housing Trust (JJHT) has seen its viability status marked up from a V3 to a V2 rating. The 5,000-home trust says it is meeting its viability requirements and is continuing to work towards V1, the top rating. Paul Dolan, JJHT's chief executive, said: “We are all delighted that the hard work and focus of the Board, and team, at JJHT has resulted in the regulator upgrading our Viability...

CIH: End rural right to buy to save vital social homes

24th February 2015

Exempting rural communities from the controversial right to buy (RtB) policy and cracking down on fraud could help stop vital social housing being lost, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has said.  Ahead of next month’s budget, the CIH has claimed that exempting council houses in areas with a population of less than 3,000 people from RtB would help protect the dwindling supply of affordable homes in rural communities, which he organisation says is pricing many younger people an...

‘ASB tenant powers under threat’

23rd February 2015

Powers to tackle anti-social tenants in Scotland could be reduced if new laws for the private rental sector (PRS) are introduced, according to industry bodies. The publication of a consultation by the Scottish government looking at potential reforms for the PRS has revealed that one of the measures under consideration the removal of the ‘no-fault ground’, which allows landlords to ask tenants to move out at the end of an agreed contractual term. In response to the consultation, PRS organisation...

HCA: We are re-calibrating the relationship between the regulator and the regulated

23rd February 2015

By Matthew Bailes, director of regulation, the Home and Communities Agency Our revised regulatory framework – published last month – was the culmination of a long process of consultation, development and refinement.  The process began shortly after the HCA took over as the social housing regulator, and nearly three years on we are confident we have got it about right.  The framework is part of a strategy that puts protecting the value in social housing assets at the heart of...