Independence...Integrity...Value

Blog 9th October 2017

Oct 9th, 11:41

Blog 9th October 2017

In this week’s blog, I refer to: Theresa May, the Conservative Party Conference, Help to Buy, the Affordable Housing Programme, Social Rents, Student Finance, UK economy, the National Health Service, Scottish Government, Welsh Government, the Office for National Statistics and Service Charges.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, gave her ‘keynote’ speech at the Conservative Party Conference on 4th October 2017. She obviously covered a range of topics, that included using the occasion to make several announcements about housing policy especially regarding ‘Help to Buy’, the affordable housing programme and social rents; sometimes drawing on earlier announcements made by colleagues. Further detail on some aspects was provided afterwards.

I have written a briefing paper that considers these announcements and focuses on ‘Help to Buy’, the affordable housing programme and social rents. It outlines the government’s policy, the response of the sector and provides some commentary and conclusions.

These announcements represent a significant shift in government housing policy – and not only because of the new rhetoric on social housing. The government has decided to put an additional £26billion into housing - £14billion in increased social housing rents; £10billion in ‘Help to Buy’ and £2billion into the affordable housing programme. Of this, £4billion is to be funded by tenants who are not eligible for housing benefit and the remaining £22billion is to be funded by the taxpayer.

While the allocation of more resources to housing is to be welcomed there are several aspects of these announcements that are a cause for concern.

  • First, the government has not said how this increased expenditure is to be funded.
  • Second, it appears that the government’s approach shows a lack of strategic thinking and poor financial administration.

Your copy of the briefing paper can be freely downloaded by clicking HERE

The October 2017 edition of the Public Services News was published last week. It includes articles on:

  • Conservative Party Conference: Policy Announcements
  • Reforms to Student Finance
  • The United Kingdom Economy
  • National Health Service is ‘facing catastrophe'
  • The Scottish Government’s new Fiscal Powers and Budgetary Process
  • Prosperity for All in Wales
  • Cumbria County Council Leader warns of Perfect Storm
  • Evidence based Politics
  • Private Finance Initiative

Your copy can be freely downloaded from HERE

Last week the Office for National Statistics announced that average household income in the United Kingdom has fallen during each of the last four quarters and is now 2.3% lower than it was a year ago. Commenting on the statistics, Matthew Whittaker of the Resolution Foundation said that:

“Looking forward, incomes are set to fall further before they rise. Inflation remains on course to outpace earnings growth for the remainder of 2017. Absent any change in government policy, the real-terms values of public sector pay and working-age benefits face erosion over the next few years. And the outlook for productivity growth – ultimately the main engine of sustainable long-term growth in earnings and incomes – remains highly uncertain.”

Last week I presented an in-house training session on: ‘All You Want to Know about Service Charges in Social Housing in Wales’ to staff at a Welsh local authority. As usual, the feedback was good. Delegates said that the information provided was very relevant, the quality of presentation was excellent and that the training met their needs fully. They described the session as interesting, clear, comprehensive, practical and useful. Individual comments included:

  • Found the information discussed was set at just the right level so it was understandable and enabled learning.
  • Very useful for me, being new to housing – increased knowledge on service charge calculations and housing benefit issues.
  • Adrian was very clear and I received useful information to help me in my role.
  • Very interesting training day.
  • Very good training event.

We will be holding a seminar on ‘All You Want to Know about Service Charges in Social Housing in Wales’ in Cardiff on 14th February 2018. For further information or to make a booking, please click HERE

Our next seminar will be on: ‘Housing Business Planning in an Uncertain Environment’. For further information or to make a booking, please click HERE

Note: Cookies are used on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies. Read more about our cookie policy

Copyright © 2017 AWICS. Website by Web Industry