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Cameron and home secretary go to town on 'immigration abuses'

30th July 2014

Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May have revealed plans for a new crackdown on "immigration abuses". From November, tougher rules will be imposed on universities and colleges that sponsor international students to study in the UK. Currently, educational institutions cannot enjoy 'highly trusted sponsor status' if 20% or more of the individuals they have offered places to are refused visas. But the government will slash that figure to 10% in November after a three-month tra...

Opinion: How the HCA can avoid the domino effect

30th July 2014

By Alistair McIntosh, chief executive, Housing Quality Network The HCA has lots of good ideas to make regulation work better. You can also say the same about the Altair report into the goings on at Cosmopolitan. But we need to step into the modern world. We are all trying to use social media and big data in better ways. Why do we never think about this when we look at regulation? If the HCA got real time data on finance and performance, it could nip problems in the bud. The DWP says that our r...

1,300-home social landlord downgraded by HCA

30th July 2014

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has downgraded a Nottingham-based social landlord on both its governance and viability scales. Tuntum Housing Association, which was established as a black and minority ethnic housing provider, manages around 1,300 homes across 11 local authority areas in the East Midlands. The HCA has knocked Tuntum down one notch on its 'Properly Governed' scale to 'G3', explaining that it "does not meet all of the requirements on governance set out in the Governance and F...

Opinion: Green Deal or no Green Deal?

28th July 2014

By Michael McMahon, managing director of Everwarm, part of the Lakehouse Group Last Tuesday, the government lowered the levels of funding available for households and housing providers to claim back for energy improvements to their homes. Two days later, the entire Green Deal Home Improvement Fund was closed following a rush on applications. It took just six weeks for the £120 million allocation to be exhausted. The uptake of the original Green Deal loan scheme was disappointing, with fe...

Is a new law needed to build a better Wales?

25th July 2014

The Welsh National Assembly’s Environment and Sustainability Committee has asked whether a new law is needed to build a better Wales. The Welsh government’s Well-being of Future Generations Bill sets out a series of goals for the development of a more prosperous, resilient, healthier and equal society. The committee has said that, on a practical level, the government can aim to achieve the bill's goals through the creation of statutory public services boards - which would combine re...

Government urged to rethink flood insurance plans

25th July 2014

The property industry has urged the government to rethink the scope of its affordable flood insurance scheme, after ministers confirmed that millions of homeowners could be left out. Following Defra's launch of a consultation on how it intends to implement Flood Re, the British Property Federation (BPF) said it remained concerned over the current scope of the scheme. The BPF says it is particularly worried about the exclusion of the majority of leasehold property from the scheme - which means th...

UK's commercial property owners 'lose out on £100m in tax relief'

24th July 2014

In sad news, it seems that the UK's commercial property owners have recently missed out on £100 million in tax relief, a 'capital allowances specialist' has claimed. Catax Solutions' analysis of HRMC's monthly property transaction report found that over £84m has been lost in the first three months since this April's implementation of the 2012 Finance Bill, taking the figure to approximately £100m to date in Catax's view. Catax says that it has identified that approximately 3,...

Government to update dealings with claimants after report finds sanctions hitting most vulnerable

22nd July 2014

The government has announced that is to update the way it talks to benefit claimants, after an independent review found that the coalition's sanctions are hitting the most vulnerable people the hardest. Commissioned by the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP), welfare expert Matthew Oakley conducted a review of how Jobcentre Plus and back to work scheme providers communicate with claimants who have their benefits stopped. Mr Oakley's study found that many vulnerable people who have been hit wi...

UK tenants' £5bn deposit mountain losing out on potential £95m in interest

22nd July 2014

The UK's residential tenants are missing out on up to £95 million in interest on the collective £5 billion in deposits held by the country's landlords, campaign group Generation Rent (GR) has claimed. And GR says that tenants can earn interest on the cash: by turning their deposits into a new type of savings account. As part of a consultation it is currently running, GR has also highlighted the following issues with the deposit system that it believes need urgent reform: • Some deposit disputes c...

HCA sets out delivery priorities for next four years

16th July 2014

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has set out the ways in which it will use its land, investment and regulation to deliver new homes over the next four years. The agency's 2014 to 2018 plan details its core targets in 2014/15, including: • Completion of 30,000 new affordable homes, with a further 22,500 affordable homes brought up to a decent standard.• Development of the regulatory framework to "better protect social housing assets in a sector where risks are becoming more complex"....