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Opinion: An MP's valiant effort to crush the bedroom tax has come undone

29th October 2014

By our man in the field, Rob Gershon  The Affordable Homes Bill has been indefinitely stalled, leading to a position where the snake will eat its own tail as this legislative Ouroboros comes unstuck in the early stages, as most informed observers predicted that it might do when it was proposed.  It turns out that the Conservatives needn't have bothered wasting an hour and a half last week filibustering away committee time that could have been used to help protect disabled people, and...

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...

Council brings in scheme to raise PRS standards

27th October 2014

Salford City Council has introduced a scheme aimed at increasing standards in the private rented sector (PRS) in parts of Eccles and Barton. The council's scheme, which went through extensive consultation with over 7,800 landlords, managing agents and tenants, covers around 760 PRS homes. The scheme, which will come into effect in January and will last for five years, will require landlords to obtain a licence from the council. They will need to show basic safety checks have been carried out and ...

Inquiry launched into PRS 'revenge evictions'

24th October 2014

The All Party Parliamentary Group for the private rented sector (PRS) has launched an inquiry into Sarah Teather MP’s bill to tackle the problem of so-called 'revenge evictions'.  A 'revenge eviction' occurs when a private landlord serves notice on a property after a tenant has complained about the need for repairs.  Tenant and landlord organisations dispute the extent to which such evictions take place. The secretariat to the parliamentary group for the PRS is being provided b...

Brighton's 'living rent' campaign praised by Greens

24th October 2014

A campaign to introduce a 'living rent' policy in Brighton and Hove has been praised by the city council's Green councillors. The campaign proposes the creation of a national living rent commission to explore ways of bringing the country's soaring rents into line with wages and the cost of living. It also supports bringing in longer term tenancies in return for stable rent increases. In Brighton and Hove, the campaign is calling for an 'ethical landlord' accreditation scheme and for the development...

Government to get behind England’s aspiring self-builders

24th October 2014

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis has today announced plans to support people who want to build their own homes.  The minister has published details of plans for a new right to build across England, so that anyone who wants to build their own home will be able to turn to their council for help in finding a suitable plot of land.  Lewis has said that making custom build a more realistic option for more people was part of the government’s drive to support aspiring homeown...

Tories revert to 'Nasty Party' type to derail bedroom tax bill, says MP

24th October 2014

A Liberal Democrat MP has slammed Tory MPs he believes are using a timewasting plot to sabotage his bill to curtail the effects of the controversial bedroom tax. In the wake of this week's first committee meeting for Andrew George's Affordable Housing Bill - which contains regulations to exempt people who cannot be sourced a smaller home to downsize to and disabled people who require a spare room from the bedroom tax - the Tory MPs in the session have been slammed for "filibustering" in an effort...

Council takes steps to protect PRS tenants from appalling standards

24th October 2014

Islington Council has taken steps to protect private rented sector tenants from appalling conditions by proposing extra landlord licensing. The council's landlord licensing scheme would cover an estimated 3,500 tenants living in homes along the entire length of Holloway Road and Caledonian Road, which surveys have indicated are hotspots for poor management. Earlier this year, after concerns about poorly managed houses and flats along the two streets, council officers surveyed 208 houses in multip...

Opinion: Weep for Labour's mansion tax victims!

23rd October 2014

UK taxpayer Max Salsbury commiserates with the put-upon saps targeted by the Miliband regime. The hardworking citizens of the impoverished London borough of Kensington & Chelsea are living in fear. Should Labour win next year's election, those poverty-stricken strivers living in homes worth between £2-3 million will be required to pay £250 a month (£3,000 a year). The sense of dread, despair and injustice that has descended upon the borough is palpable. Who will avail us o...

Opinion: Bedroom tax bill filibustering with the clock-watching Jacob Rees-Mogg

22nd October 2014

Our resident sketch-writer Rob Gershon (he’s like a talented, non-misogynistic version of Quentin Letts) reveals the effort some MPs put in into not talking about the bedroom tax…  With the passing at second reading of MP Andrew George’s Affordable Homes Bill, there was hope in some quarters that it might usher in some much needed mitigation to the removal of the... well, to the bedroom tax.  I've previously outlined why the bill is unlikely to make any difference to the disabled people and those with nowhere smaller to downsize t...