HQN Strategic Network News

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Each week Jo Barratt and Emma Lindley, associates for The Strategic Network, go over the biggest and most relevant news stories, reports and publications of the past week for members, while providing their own analysis and comment.

For more expert analysis, briefings and best practice for those involved in policy, strategy and the private rented sector, be sure to join The Strategic Network. You can find out more here.

Week commencing 19 August 2019

Four new members appointed to Homes England’s Board

Four new members have been appointed to the Board of Homes England, the government’s housing accelerator.

Mark Rennison, Olivia Scanlon, Sadie Morgan and Vanessa Murden join the Homes England Board with immediate effect, increasing its gender diversity and boosting its resilience; taking its non-executive members from 6 to 10.

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Week commencing 12 August 2019

CIH partners with Welsh Government to scale up council building

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Cymru has today announced a partnership with the Welsh Government to increase the scale of council house building.

As reported by 24housing earlier in the year, the release of the government’s Independent Review of Affordable Housing Supply outlined recommendations to make “ground-breaking” improvements to the supply and quality of affordable housing.

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Are Social Housing Green Paper proposals on ice? We look at what has happened since last year

One year ago this week, the government published its long-awaited Social Housing Green Paper. This document, which was overdue, was supposed to be the “most substantial report of its kind for a generation” and deliver a “fundamental rethink of social housing in this country”.

But these lofty aims remain – as yet – unfulfilled.

A consultation on the paper closed in November, with a response and a potential white paper expected in spring. But as we pass the one-year anniversary, we are still waiting.

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Sir Edward Lister resigns as Homes England Chair

Statement regarding the resignation of Homes England’s Chair.

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Average adult will spend more than £60,000 in rent before reaching housing ladder, poll claims

Those who have bought their first home within the last five years previously paid an average of £625 every month in rent to their landlords. And on average, they will be renting for almost eight-and-a-half years before they finally get onto the property ladder, spending a total of £63,225 in rent during that time.

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Lettings agent fined £40,000 for ‘membership club’ scam in landmark prosecution

Gian Paulo Aliatis, the director of Lifestyle Club Ltd in Islington, London, pleaded guilty to three charges on July 30 after Islington Council’s Trading Standards investigated his firm’s bogus claim that it was a members’ club and therefore not subject to the legal regulations for letting agents.

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New measure to help authorities ‘better understand’ homelessness

A number of councils have already pledged to take on the Shelter Cymru initiative.

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British public tells new government: don’t stop talking about the housing crisis

Almost three-quarters of people across the UK believe there’s a housing crisis – and more than half think we’re not talking about it enough, according to a new survey by Ipsos MORI for CIH.

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Bristol-based associations launch housebuilding academy

Bristol Housing Partnership, a group of 14 housing associations working with the Council to deliver more affordable homes in the city, has launched a pilot training and employment scheme aimed at attracting young people to choose a career in housing development.

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Housing association residents ‘refused’ fire assessments

An independent report, carried out after the Grenfell Tower fire, advised assessments for high-risk flats should be proactively shared with residents. A BBC investigation found only five out of 20 housing associations proactively published them, while some residents say they weren’t shared when requested.

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How a big French bank helped London tenants get back to work

L&Q social housing association secured loan by BNP Paribas under condition it helped its unemployed residents find jobs.

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New Economics Foundation: Fix productivity crisis by giving workers more paid holiday and higher wages

For years, policy makers have tried to solve the productivity puzzle by focusing on the supply-side of the economy – the ways in which we produce goods and deliver services. But the research shows that if the government is serious about productivity, it must now also look at the demand-side of the economy as well – the level and nature of spending across the country.

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York-based partnership to help keep domestic violence victims safe

Work to protect victims begins after a successful bid for £300,000 in funding.

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UK housing market at its weakest point in a decade, says Savills

Upmarket property firm blames Brexit uncertainty for putting off would-be buyers

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‘Reverse fridges’ and insulated walls – how to make a house carbon neutral

As the world moves towards a carbon neutral future, many different areas from industry to manufacturing are working to reduce their emissions. But scientists are beginning to look at a different area – houses – to work out if it’s possible to reduce emissions from Europe’s homes to zero by retrofitting on a mass scale. And the early signs are promising.

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London mayor confirms plans to help rough sleepers

The move aims to help former rough sleepers and victims of domestic abuse live independently.

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Week commencing 5 August 2019

AgeUK/Habinteg report: Home Truths – Rebutting ten myths about building accessible housing

This fact sheet addresses ten common myths about accessible homes that are often used to argue against further progress.

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Wales looks at thousands of new council homes by 2040

Key points raised in the new National Development Framework for Wales include:

– An extra 114,000 homes are needed over the next 20 years, which includes 3,900 affordable or council homes
– Urban clusters around Cardiff, Newport, Swansea and Wrexham
– Developments around public transport hubs annd metro stations
– Developments create good qualty of life and green infrastructure
– Prioritising the food and drink sector, energy, tourism and improved broadband in rural areas.

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Housing Evidence report: Understanding approaches to tenant participation in social housing

This new report discusses approaches to tenant participatoon and how these have changed over time. It also discusses perceptions, purposes, barriers, drivers and the benefits of tenant participation for different groups.

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Merger deal signed for Shropshire and Staffordshire housing groups

Housing Plus Group and Stafford and Rural Homes are to merge, creating a housing, care and property group for Shropshire and Staffordshire.

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Resolution Foundation report: A problem shared? What can we learn from past recessions about the impact of the next across the income distribution?

While the received wisdom from the 1980s and 1990s recessions was that those at the bottom of the income distribution suffer most during severe downturns. But this was less obvious in the aftermath of the financial crisis. So this briefing note looks at what lessons we can learn from that episode about the distributional impact of recessions.

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RLA: Right to rent guidance breaks the law

The document says that for nationals from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the United States (known as B5JSSK nationals), planning on staying in the UK for up to six months, landlords will only be required to see their passport and airline ticket as proof that they can rent property. They do not need a visa.

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MPs blast government’s £20m no-deal Brexit council spending pledge

Ministers have come under fire for pledging five times as much money towards no-deal “propaganda” as they have promised to help councils prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

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Post-Brexit priorities for low-income voters in deprived areas

This briefing from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation sets out what low-income voters, in parts of the country locked out of opportunity, want to see after Brexit: their hopes, fears and aspirations for their families and local economies.

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Week commencing 29 July 2019

Council tenant hit with £100,000 subletting fine

A council tenant has been ordered to pay over £100,000 after being taken to court by Westminster City Council for illegally subletting his social housing flat in Victoria as a holiday home through Airbnb.

Legal action was taken against Toby Harman, 37, after it was found that the property on Vauxhall Bridge Road had been advertised on Airbnb with over 300 reviews dating back to 2013. The council’s Corporate Anti-fraud Service found some of the reviews mentioned the tenant by his name, thanking him for his advice and local restaurant recommendations. Bank statements also proved he had been receiving payments from Airbnb for a number of years. Harman did not co-operate with the investigation.

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Britain to spend an extra £2.1bn on no-deal Brexit planning

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who took power last week, has pledged to leave the trading bloc without an agreement in three months unless the EU agrees to renegotiate the deal agreed by his predecessor Theresa May.

Sajid Javid said the extra money will fund a nationwide advertising campaign, ensure the supply of vital medicines, help Britons living abroad, and improve infrastructure around ports.

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Redcar and Cleveland Council ‘could go bust within two years’

Redcar and Cleveland Council’s current financial plan means its £25m reserves will run out by 2021, according to the authority’s auditor.

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Wates sets target of 40% women workforce by 2025

Wates said it wants its workforce to be more reflective of society and comprise 60% men, 40% women, 20% BAME, 3% with a disability and 5% LGBTQ+.

The targets apply across all levels of the business which will mean major changes in the board room and management team.

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‘Youth Service Guarantee’ needed to protect young people from serious violence

In its report on Serious youth violence the Home Affairs Committee says the rise in serious youth violence is a social emergency, and that young people have been failed in the most devastating way, losing their lives as a result.

It is calling for stronger focus, leadership and direction from the government and Prime Minister, and an accountable leader in every local area reporting to the Prime Minister on action to bring serious violence down.

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Liverpool puts forward ‘radical’ £230m Green City Deal bid

The Mayor of Liverpool has pitched the £230m bid to Boris Johnson’s new Government in a bid to boost the city’s economy through new powers and funding, including incentives for the private sector to build more energy-efficient homes.

The bid aims to make the city carbon neutral by 2030 and according to the city council could create up to 10,000 new jobs, support 35,000 people into work, and train 4,000 apprentices.

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Week commencing 22 July 2019

Public Accounts Committee: Government will fail to meet key land disposal targets

The UK is in the grip of a housing crisis, with a severe shortage in some areas of affordable homes specifically social homes for rent. Despite these pressing issues, the government has failed to use its position as a major land owner to develop and execute an effective strategy to meet land disposal targets.

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Regions most at risk from withdrawal of Help To Buy revealed

Where regional caps create ‘cliff edges’ that could severely impact demand, government needs to provide certainty or new solutions to meet housing delivery targets.

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Attitudes survey: quarter of people over 66 feel uncomfortable living next to social housing

Findings from the 2018 British Social Attitudes survey looking specifically at social housing show that 25% of people aged over 66 feel uncomfortable living next to this type of housing.

Read more… (registration required)

View the full British Social Attitudes survey here.

Ministers pledge to end ‘poor doors’ in new build housing

The separate entrances for social housing tenants living in new builds “stigmatise” and divide them from private residents, the government said.

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Renters may get access to rogue landlord database

The Rogue Landlords Database was launched in 2018 and only has ten names on it so far. It includes those who have been banned for failing to make a property habitable, or have been convicted of serious offences.

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UK poll shows environment of greater concern than housing or terrorism

Protecting the environment has overtaken affordable housing and the threat of terrorism in the British public’s policy priorities over the last eight months, polling has revealed.

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Grenfell-style cladding removal work to be complete by June 2020, says government

Mr Brokenshire’s statement today marks the first time the government has given any indication of timescales for the completion of the vital safety work.

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Week commencing 15 July 2019

English Housing Survey 2017 to 2018: social rented sector

This report from the MHCLG and ONS presents a profile of households living in the social rented sector, housing costs and affordability, housing history and future aspirations, as well as conditions and energy efficiency within the social rented sector.

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Councils refusing to reveal data of rough sleepers to Home Office

Local authorities fear sharing data will lead to deportation of non-UK homeless people.

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RLA: Costs down, tenancy length up in the private rented sector

Updated figures in the English Housing Survey, show that tenants are spending less of their income on housing, with this figure standing at 33%, down from 34% the previous year.

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Housing ‘unaffordable for women’ in every English region

Gender pay gap analysis exposes average home to rent is unaffordable for a woman on median earnings.

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UK’s renting millennials face homelessness crisis when they retire

Report finds at least 630,000 will be unable to afford private rents on their pension income.

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London rent costs ‘pricing young public sector workers out of the capital’, report says

In the capital there report states that 22 to 29-year-olds on average now spend more than half (53%) of their income on private rent in London.

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Tories rule out ringfencing funds for Local Welfare provision

DWP minister says there are are “no plans” to ringfence funding for local welfare provision despite evidence of rising destitution.

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Resolution Foundation report – Failing to plan = planning to fail: The risk of recessions and the importance of macroeconomic policy in limiting the damage they cause

There is a relatively high risk that the UK will experience a recession in the next few years. An important question, then, is how much of a priority we should make preparing for it? That depends on the impact recessions have.

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Lack of homes suitable for older people fuels housing crisis – report

Failure to plan for ageing population will also add to pressure on health and care services.

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10% rise in housing association homes built over 2018/19

Housing associations built 45,604 homes in 2018/19 – 10% increase compared to the previous year. The NHF says this “great result” is well over its Ambition to Deliver target of increasing supply by 6% each year.

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