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Blog 15th March 2017

Mar 15th, 11:42

Blog 15th March 2017

Last week I presented: ‘All You Want to Know about Local Authority Housing Finance’ in London. This seminar was well attended and well received as usual and I am grateful to all those who attended. Delegates said that the information provided was very relevant, the quality of presentation was good and that the training met their needs fully. They described the session as clear, thorough, useful, interesting and valuable. Specific comments included:

  • Excellent course, very informative.
  • Really helpful and interesting. Thanks.

The next session of the seminar will be held in London on 27th September 2017. For further information or to make a booking, please click HERE

‘All You Want to Know about Local Authority Housing Finance’ is also available as an in-house session. For further information about this please contact me at Adrian.waite@awics.co.uk

Phillip Hammond presented his first budget last Wednesday. Public sector debt in the United Kingdom is now close to £1.7trillion (equivalent to £62,000 for every household in the country). The government plans to borrow £52billion during 2016/17 and to continue borrowing for the foreseeable future. Borrowing now represents 87% of Gross Domestic Product and this figure is expected to increase to 89% next year. This compares with the ceiling on borrowing of 40% of Gross Domestic Product that was part of Gordon Brown’s ‘sustainable investment rule’. Consumer borrowing is also at record levels. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that economic growth is only being sustained because of this borrowing and that therefore it is not sustainable.

The Chancellor responded to widespread public concern about adult social care services by providing local authorities in England with an additional £1billion in 2017/18 and a further £1billion over 2018/19 and 2019/20. This is designed to enable them to commission new care packages. He also announced an additional £325million to fund Sustainability and Transformation Plans for joint working between Adult Social Care services and the National Health Service. A long-term funding strategy for the care of older people will be outlined in a Green Paper later in the year. Many in the sector consider that these measures are an inadequate response to the funding crisis in Adult Social Care.

Local authorities will also receive £300million for discretionary business rate reliefs to help firms facing higher bills due to the revaluation that will be implemented in April.

The freeze on benefits will continue despite the forecast increase in inflation meaning that the real reduction in benefits will be even greater than initially planned.

The government has moved £200million in housing association grants in England forward a year that means £200million will be paid out in 2019/20 instead of 2020/21. In England 14% of investment by housing associations is supported by grant compared with 34% in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has announced that it will make £590million available to increase the supply of affordable homes in Scotland. This is an £18million increase on last year’s budget. The 32 Scottish councils that administer the scheme will share £422million of grant between them and the remaining £168million will fund national schemes, including support for first-time buyers and increasing rural and island housing. The Scottish Government has committed to delivering 50,000 affordable homes – 35,000 for social rent – by the end of the parliament in 2021.

Our seminar: ‘All You Want to Know about Scottish Social Housing Finance’ will be held in Edinburgh on 26th April 2017. For further information or to make a booking please click HERE

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