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Housing : Social Tenants / BTL & HB Problems / Shortages / Grenfell Tower Fallout - Carers UK Forum

Housing : Social Tenants / BTL & HB Problems / Shortages / Grenfell Tower Fallout

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
316 posts
Interesting one from today's Independent laying bare where the Government's priority on housing really lies :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 45616.html
Government spends four times more subsidising private housing than building affordable homes.

Study shows 79 per cent of total housing budget is spent on higher-cost homes for sale

The Government is spending four times as much – some £32bn – subsidising private housing as it is building affordable homes for low income families, a report has revealed.

The study showed 79 per cent of the total housing budget is currently spent on higher-cost homes for sale, including through the controversial Help to Buy scheme, but just 21 per cent, around £8bn, goes to affordable homes for rent.

The annual review carried out by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) exposes a significant shift away from programmes that lead to new homes being built.

Housing as always been a minefield when discussions have taken place amongst carers.

CarerWatch had a few of those in it's time , virtually nothing was ever resolved that would have enabled us to come to a consensus opinion.

Worth reading the whole article together with the viabrant comments section at the bottom.

In Carerland , there is probably no other emotive issue than housing ... a owned home is one's castle ... don't have a castle ? ... not my problem ?

Stay well clear of any discussions on housing ... trust me on that one !!!!
A report recently published by the National Housing federation concentrates on the lack of social housing , and the rise in Housing Benefit :


Housing money wasted 'propping up rents'.

Taxpayers' money is being wasted on "propping up rents" in a "failing housing market", a report says.

The National Housing Federation report highlights how money spent on housing benefit rose from £16.6bn in the mid-1990s to £25.1bn in 2015-16.

It added that since 2011, no government money has been made available to build homes in England for low paid people to rent.

The government said building more homes was its absolute priority.

A Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) spokesman said it was continuing to work closely with the sector.

But the report from the federation, which represents housing associations and social landlords, says housing someone in a private rented property costs £21 a week more than housing them in a social rent property, on average.

Worth a read to be the gist of what's happening in this part of the housing market problem.

The solution seems obvicious but ... it tends to cut across Government policy.

This one , like so many others , will continue to smoulder on.
More on the NFH report from today's Guardian :

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... sing-chief

Social housing crisis can no longer be ignored, says housing chief.

David Orr says Grenfell Tower fire highlighted neglect of sector government must urgently make money available.
The government must act urgently to address a lack of new social housing, and the Grenfell Tower fire shows this is a crisis that can no longer be ignored, according to the head of the organisation representing housing associations.

In a speech to the conference of the National Housing Federation, David Orr will say it is “absurd” that the government is spending less on social housing now than in the 1990s while paying increasing sums to private landlords via housing benefit.

The tragedy at Grenfell Tower in west London, in which at least 80 people died, highlighted the long neglect of social housing, Orr will say.

“The prime minister is right that we’ve not paid social housing enough attention. After the tragic fire at Grenfell, this crisis can no longer be ignored. The government must be bold and make a break with the past by making money available to build genuinely affordable homes.

“There’s more than a billion pounds that remains unspent on Starter Homes. Let’s put this money to use and let housing associations build 20,000 of the genuinely affordable homes the nation needs.”

Orr, who is chief executive of the federation, is expected to argue for a complete shift in government policy.

Since 2010 the government has overseen a massive reduction in the provision of homes for social rent, instead focusing on “affordable” rents, which can be as much as 80% of the market value.

A report by the federation, produced to coincide with the conference, says the amount of capital committed by the government to homebuilding has fallen from £11.4bn in 2009 to £5.3bn in 2015.

In combination with this, the decision to stop public funding for social rented homes led to a decline in construction of these from 36,000 starts in 2010/11 to slightly over 3,000 the next year.

Again , well worth reading as the social housing crisis deepens.

Food banks in virtually every town , social housing waiting lists at record levels ?

Welcome to our Sad New World.

Before long , Angry New World ?
Connected article from today's Independent , supplementary to GENTIFICATION , a new buzz word describing precisely what is happening in far too many areas :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ho ... 71676.html

My first " Reference " to Grenfell Tower ... purely as a byline as it follows from the narrative of the article.

Kensington and Chelsea real estate developers dodged commitment to build 706 social homes – which could have housed all the Grenfell survivors

Figures show that over last seven years, developers have been sidestepping local planning policy to avoid building hundreds of homes in the borough.

The main thrust of the article :

Despite being required by local planning policy to build a certain number of social homes, analysis of the council data shows that these haven’t been built in large part due to a legal loophole called a “viability assessment”.

Developers first win planning permission by promising they will build the required number of affordable homes in the scheme, but they can then go back to the council and say they can’t build them because it would reduce their profit margin – using a viability assessment to support their argument, according to Shelter.

In Kensington and Chelsea, the loophole has been used by developers to reduce the amount of affordable housing from the council’s policy target of 50 per cent to just 15 per cent on those schemes over the past seven years.

This gap between the council’s target and what was eventually permitted is the equivalent to 831 affordable homes – of which 706 would have been social homes, which have not been built.

Of the 96 schemes granted planning permission that were analysed, 44 used a viability assessment. However, as these tended to be the larger schemes, they covered 68 per cent of the homes granted permission over the period (2,400).

Of the planning permissions where viability assessments were not used, the affordable housing achieved was 38 per cent – significantly closer to the council’s policy of 50 per cent. This suggests that the use of viability assessments has an impact the provision of affordable housing.

Mentioned only earlier this week by Jeremy Corbyn in his " Major " speech to the party faithfull.

Well , Jeremy , gentification has been the norm since the Second World War .... time for you to read up on a little bit of history as opposed to looking to score political points !!!

1919 General Election slogan ... " A Land Fit For Heroes " ... and from When The Boat Comes In .... " .... and Idiots ? " ...
reference to those who were taken in by the usual political catchphrase nonsense.


Housing .... we are here today following 70+ years of almost total failure in co-ordinated housing policy enacted by political parties with no real interests other than to persue their own objections.
Another article , this time from the BBC , dealing with a specific case and the continuing fallout from Grenfell Tower in it's effects across that " Rotten " borough ( Wikipedia good starting point for that historical reference ) :


Revealed: The social houses that never got built

They've been on Kensington and Chelsea council's housing waiting list since Isaac was born.

They even made it to number eight on the list before Grenfell happened. Then, the housing list website went down "until further notice".

"I am not going to go down the town hall and make a big thing about, but it would be good to know where we stand.

"It gets unbearably hot in the flat and we are worried about Isaac's safety," says youth worker Llyle.

But one thing's for sure - one of the 700 or so properties developers were supposed to have earmarked for social housing as they built and sold new homes in the borough would have done very nicely.

Unfortunately for Llyle and his family, developers opted out of building hundreds of homes for people like him, arguing that the requirement made their property developments financially unviable.

New research from housing charity Shelter shows that in the past seven years, developers used what is known as "viability assessments" to reduce the amount of social or affordable housing they were required to build in the borough.

Kensington and Chelsea originally required 50% of new builds, across 96 schemes built since 2010, to be social rented homes or affordable homes for sale.

But as a result of the use of viability assessments, the rate of social housing in new builds reduced to 15% in the borough, according to Freedom of Information requests made by the charity.

The way this works is that the developer wins planning permission by promising they will build a chunk of affordable homes in the scheme.

But then they come back and say building affordable homes on the particular site would make the scheme financially unviable.

At this point they fill in a viability assessment to support their argument, and if agreed, they do not then have to deliver the affordable housing they promised.

Sometimes - but not always - the developer has to pay the local council a contribution towards building social housing elsewhere instead.

The lack of " Affordable " homes will not be solved during my lifetime , nor the lifetimes of my grand children.



Perhaps Nature itself will provide a solution as no human being can ???
An interesting article from today's Guardian , slightly political as it focuses on the present Government " Lack of ideas and vested interests " whereas the present situation dates back half a century or more :

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... t-controls

Why Theresa May’s pledges won’t fix the UK’s housing disaster.

Rent controls are drastically needed to stop people being priced out of homes. But the Tories are wedded to the free market and won’t let down their landlord friends

An apparent inability to understand how almost 40 years of housing policies have created the UK’s “great housing disaster” is a problem that has afflicted successive governments. In 1989, as Margaret Thatcher’s government finalised the deregulation of the private rented sector, it was put to the then housing minister, Sir George Young, that some tenants might struggle with rents that would inevitably rise once rent controls were lifted. “If people cannot afford to pay that market rent,” Young assured, “housing benefit will take the strain.”

Fast forward to 2010 and the coalition government’s decision to cap housing benefit because its expenditure in the private rented sector was “out of control”. No one in David Cameron’s government mentioned deregulation, but to anyone who knew the history, the connection was clear: private sector tenants were now to be punished for the consequences of Thatcher’s reforms.

Jeremy Corbyn’s recent announcement that Labour would reintroduce some form of rent control has prompted landlords to warn that such a move would be “a disaster for tenants”. Landlords often claim to be acting in the best interests of tenants, yet cases in which tenants themselves laud the merits of uncontrolled rents are rather more difficult to find.

It is clear that the UK needs major investment in social housing, but regardless of what May announces today it will take time to build the number of homes needed to have a knock-on effect on prices. In the meantime, there are various models of rent control that have been proven to create more secure, affordable and sustainable rented sectors in other countries. Adopting a model such as that proposed by Generation Rent above would improve the lives of millions of renters in the here and now.

The truth is that the UK’s housing crisis is not merely a problem of supply and demand, but of class inequality being reproduced through property relations. Perhaps it is the prospect of the present system being curtailed that some find so terrifying.

Usual comments section at the bottom ... one very apt ?

No, I don't think her pledges will fix the housing disaster either. Nor do I think Corbyn's pledges will fix it either. Cynicism one side and well-intentioned incompetence the other. I have had quite enough of pledges from either side thank you.

One issue that our own grandchildrens' grandchildren will not find very " Amusing ."
Affordable homes .... note NOT social housing ... as per latest report from today's Tory party conference :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 82901.html

Theresa May's flagship housebuilding announcement will deliver only 5,000 extra homes a year.

Councils will not be allowed to borrow more money to build homes - leaving the fiercely-resented strict cap in place

The housing charity Shelter said: “All new money is welcome, but with over 1.2m households on waiting lists this is only a fraction of the long-term investment required.”

Lord Porter, the Conservative chairman of the Local Government Association, welcomed the announcement, but suggested it fell well short.

“The only way councils will be able to significantly deliver the new homes we need is if they are given genuine powers to invest in housing,” he said.

“This means the ability to borrow to invest in new council housing, to keep 100 per cent of right to buy receipts to replace sold homes, certainty over future rents, powers to make sure developers build approved homes in a timely fashion, and adequately funded planning departments so that they can cover the cost of processing applications.”

And Labour said: “The Tories announced an additional £2bn for house building, but this will only build paltry extra 5,000 homes a year.

“The Tories new proposal also means they will be investing less than half than Labour did in their last year in government in affordable housing.”

The Conservatives, however, said the announcement amounted to an extra 12,500 homes a year – because all would be built in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

The KEY figure as quoted by Shelter .... 1.2 million on existing waiting lists.

.... and now factor in impact of the UC rollout allied with increasing number of landlords refusing to take on tenants claiming UC.

Madness .....
The Right to Buy .... who are really benefiting ?

Today's Daily Chuckle reveals how this Scheme is working :

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... cheme.html
Wealthy families exploit £7billion Help to Buy home scheme with 40% of recipients on more than £50k a year

Almost 135,000 families have taken advantage since its launch in 2013
One in ten recipients of Help to Buy was on at least £80,000
Profits, share prices and executive bonuses have soared at firms including Barratt, Bellway and Taylor Wimpey
Academics said the scheme – given a £10billion further boost by Theresa May this week – was driving up house prices.

‘Help to Buy is like throwing petrol on to a bonfire,’ said Sam Bowman, of the Adam Smith Institute. ‘This scheme is being used by investment bankers and doctors. They are certainly not the sort of people who the taxpayer should be subsidising.

‘It is astonishing that households earning over £100,000 a year are using it.’

Luke Murphy of the Institute for Public Policy Research, another think-tank, said Help to Buy had made houses less affordable.

‘The two fundamental problems are that it pushes up property prices and that it is primarily helping those who would have been able to buy anyway,’ he added.

‘For those that can’t afford to purchase their own home, Help to Buy is pushing their dream further out of reach.’

Smoke and mirrors and .... a backhander for those who really benefit from this Government's policies ?

Colour coding will follow once someone fills up the INK bottle !
Interesting article from Shelter as published in today's Independent :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ho ... 08826.html
Over 40% of low earners are eating and buying clothes less to pay their rent, study finds.

Shelter calls for new type of home to help tacking housing crisis
Almost half of low-earners have cut back on essential items such as food and clothes in order to cover the cost of rising rents, a new report has revealed.

The study, by housing charity Shelter, also found that one in 10 workers on low wages has fallen behind on paying bills because they are struggling to afford their rent.

Shelter is calling on the Government to invest in 500,000 “Fair Rent Homes”, which would be available at rents linked to local incomes.

Earlier this month ministers announced a further £2bn of funding for 25,000 new affordable homes, but critics said this did not go far enough and does not help people who are low-paid but do not qualify for social housing.

Shelter said “Fair Rent Homes” would be aimed at people who are in jobs such as care workers, hairdressers, security guards and factory workers.

People would qualify if they earned less than £45,000 a year in London and £35,000 in the rest of the country – higher than the threshold for most social housing.

The research, carried out in conjunction with YouGov, found 44 per cent of low-paid renters had been forced to cut back on basic items, including food, clothes and toys for their children, in order to pay for their home.

Thirty-two per cent had cut spending on clothing, while 20 per cent had saved money on food.

More than one in five – 21 per cent – had ditched some leisure activities for their children, such as days out or swimming, and 13 per cent had been forced to scrimp on children’s clothing and toys.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “No parent should have to choose between buying school clothes or paying their rent. But far too many families are feeling shame and anxiety as they are forced to make impossible decisions just to keep a roof over their children’s heads.

“This report reveals the true scale of housebuilding this country needs. Despite slogging every hour they can, huge numbers of people are struggling to keep up with colossal private rents. And with next to no chance of getting a council home, they are trapped and are forced into dangerous debt.

“It’s good to see the government investing in council housing for those hit hardest by the housing crisis but there are millions more low paid renters only just scraping by, who also need help. Only investing in a new generation of Fair Rent Homes will give these families the chance of a stronger and more secure future.”

As the number of social homes has fallen and house prices have soared, millions of people have been left trapped in the private rented sector.

Shelter’s call for “Fair Rent Homes” is similar to Labour’s plan to introduce “living rent homes” that would have costs capped at a third of local earnings.

The party’s Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey, said: “This report echoes Labour’s argument that to fix the housing crisis we need to build many more genuinely affordable homes, but since 2010 Conservative Ministers have washed their hands of any responsibility to build the homes families on ordinary incomes need.

“New affordable housebuilding is now at the lowest level for 24 years. Labour will build thousands more genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy including new living rent homes to help people on ordinary incomes with the high cost of housing.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “Affordable housing is a top priority for the Government. Since 2010 we have delivered almost 333,000 affordable homes but we want to go further.

“That’s why earlier this month we confirmed plans for a new generation of council and housing association homes through a further £2bn funding boost, bringing investment in affordable housing to over £9bn.’’

Interesting ... one sector not mentioned but seems to be under the radar ... me included ... those over 60 renting in the private sector ... virtually trapped as our income will never rise to a level where one could breakout.

Said income just enough for one NOT to qualify for any benefits but insufficent to do much else other than to survive as best we can. For me , the legacy of being a lone carer.

The only salvation would be for rents to be reduced ... and that will never happen unless there is a full scale financial meltdown.

What is our fate ???

I liked the idea of the 'box homes' or whatever they're called - little 'mini flats' for cities. Most singletons don't spend much actual time 'at home', except to sleep, so a 'mini-flat' can be perfectly adequate at that stage of life. (Less to clean, too!)

The real problem of course is the ever-rising population of this country.

The first useful step would be to ban 'investment purchasing' of property by foreigners (eg, the Chinese, etc etc!). Horrendous articles about how they scoop up nearly all the new housing as it comes on to the market.

Another useful step would be to make it illegal to have unoccupied dwellings (investment buyers often buy up property, keep it deliberately empty and 'unsoiled' and then wait a couple of years for the value to go up, and then sell it on. Never gets occupied at all.)

But simply building all over Green Belt is NOT an acceptable solution. Developers love it (ie, compared with brownfield or infill building) because the costs are so cheap.
316 posts