This Week

Here’s a roundup of the week’s sector news, updates, announcements, and more:

 

Tuesday 25 June 2019

MHCLG publishes selective licensing review 

The report finds that selective licensing is an effective tool when implemented properly, and identifies a range of areas where the operation or implementation of selective licensing schemes could be improved.

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Download the full report here.

 

Austerity and inequality fuelling mental illness, says top UN envoy

Special rapporteur on health says social justice more important for mental health than therapy and medication.

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HMRC pushes steep VAT increase for new solar-battery systems

Treasury proposes rise from 5% to 20%, while the tax on coal will stay at lower rate.

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Survey shows landlords ‘struggling’ to keep up with reforms

30% didn’t understand HMO regulations, 28% in the dark over the abolition of Section 21, and 27% unaware of letting fees ban.

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Boris Johnson’s tax policies: what would they cost and who would benefit?

While only about 8% of individuals would gain from this change in the short run, probably at least a quarter will at some point be higher rate taxpayers themselves, or will live in a household with a higher rate taxpayer, at some point in their lives.

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Monday 24 June 2019

Latest Right to Buy sales released

So, how many homes were flogged in 2018-19’s last quarter? Well, the government’s figures show that English councils sold ‘an estimated’ 2,612 properties in Q4 (January to March 2019), though ‘2,612’ seems a strange figure to arrive at via an estimate.

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RSH launches consultation on changes to the intervention, enforcement and use of powers guidance

The guidance sets out the Regulator’s general approach to intervention and enforcement of registered providers and reinforces the high-level objectives and principles underpinning its approach to dealing with poor performance in a rapidly-changing social housing sector.

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The consultation will close on Friday 16 August 2019.

 

Malthouse accused of ‘misleading’ MPs over fire tests

Labour leaps on Commons response to cladding question saying minister has “serious questions to answer”.

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Areas with most homeless deaths disproportionately hit by cuts

Labour analysis finds nine of ten councils with highest fatalities had cuts more than three times national average.

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Call for right to rent policy to be scrapped in the UK

The next British Prime Minister is being urged to scrap the controversial Right to Rent scheme, with a coalition of organisations pointing out that the High Court has ruled it causes discrimination.

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The fight for Fairbourne

After the sea wall was breached in 2014, Gwynedd County Council announced it could no longer repair the defences indefinitely and, given the anticipated rise in sea levels, said the village would be “decommissioned”, starting in 2045. Those living there would have to move out, making them the first people in the UK displaced by the effects of climate change. Or the country’s first climate change refugees, as they have been dubbed.

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Friday 21 June 2019

Assaults on frontline staff rise 10% in a year, survey reveals

Assaults on frontline social housing workers rose by more than 10% this year, with more than 2,000 verbal and physical attacks on staff members.

Read more… (registration required)

 

Northern Powerhouse ‘undermined’ by austerity, five years on

The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) North said the economy had “moved in the right direction” but more children were living in “poor” households.

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DWP followed policy in denying dying man benefits, review finds

Stephen Smith, 64, from Liverpool, weighed 38kg and was gravely ill at time of death.

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Government homeless funding ‘wasted’ without coherent strategy

New report reinforces frontline case for combined strategy tackling both homelessness and housing with a cross-departmental programme.

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Thursday 20 June 2019

Corbyn says ‘it shouldn’t take long’ to put housing associations under FoI

At PMQs, Labour leader presses the case for Freedom of Information applying to housing associations to strengthen tenant rights.

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Rough sleeping: London figures hit record high

Research commissioned by the Greater London Authority found 8,855 people slept rough in the capital between April 2018 and March 2019. That figure has risen from 7,484 the previous year – and 62% of them were sleeping rough for the first time.

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‘One in four’ seeking shelter at key homeless agencies in Manchester, London and Leicester are refugees

Many have become homeless after struggling to find a job and accommodation before their small level of financial support is cut off – the official “move-on period” following the granting of asylum is just 28 days.

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Inflation falls back to 2% as air fares dive after Easter

Any pressure felt by policymakers to raise interest rates diminishes as indicators suggest inflation will continue to fall.

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Staff at social landlords under pressure to favour cost savings over quality in procurement

Cost savings are a bigger concern to procurement professionals working for UK social landlords and other public sector organisations than quality of work as pressure on budgets intensifies, new research has found.

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Disability charities lodge complaint over DWP’s ‘myth-busting’ Universal Credit ads

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has faced serious criticism over a series of ‘news report’ ads in the Metro newspaper promising to “uncover the truth” about Universal Credit, the government’s controversial benefits system.

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Wednesday 19 June 2019

New housing statistics show increase in affordable homes

Government housing accelerator Homes England has today published its latest annual housing statistics, which show a significant increase in the number of affordable homes being built in England.

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IFS: Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2019

This report examines how living standards – most commonly measured by households’ incomes – have changed for different groups in the UK, and the consequences that these changes have for income inequality and for measures of deprivation and poverty.

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Inequality and deprivation ‘strongly linked’ to tenure, says report

Research finds that the average outright home owner has more than 40 times the wealth of the average social tenant.

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Brexit: Welsh Government £85m for social housing and roads

The cash will also be made available to councils and economic sectors, such as the automotive industry. Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said she would “consider making” a further funding announcement closer to the UK’s departure from the EU.

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Berlin’s ballooning rents to be frozen for five years

Berlin’s city government decided on Tuesday to freeze rents for five years, heeding complaints from residents that their once famously affordable city was pricing them out.

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