Axe the housing act - new figures illustrate crisis
43% population in substandard housing
Homelessness is rising and by any measure Britain’s housing crisis is getting worse. Today a new report shows that 43% of people live in sub standard homes based on the new ‘Living Home Standard’ developed by Shelter based on what ordinary people consider makes a home fit to live in. Just the time for a massive expansion of social housing? Well the government’s new housing act would destroy the social housing sector if fully implemented and does nothing to help people in the insecure overpriced private rented sector.
Our branch has been active in the ‘Axe the act’ campaign which has involved tenants, trade unionists and campaigners. Branch members will be at the ‘summit’ on Saturday – why not join us there? See below for details.
Commercialising housing associations
A concern for branch members is that the housing act will further deregulate housing associations, allowing the further commercialisation of the sector; damaging for associations social mission and for staff. Last week the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) reported that ‘disposals’ from the social sector had reached a record level. Last year there was a 48% increase bringing the figure to 4, 406 homes. The new act will remove the remaining requirement to seek ‘consent’ for taking homes out of the social sector.
Disposals nearly cancel new social homes
Already we know that Genesis housing boss Neil Hadden has openly spoken of his intention to pull out of social housing and other associations are moving in a similar direction. As we have reported only 16.8% of new homes built by associations are social rented homes. That would suggest that the overall contribution to the social sector in a year was just a few hundred nationally - disposals nearly cancel new social homes.
An idea of plans to move housing out of the social sector presented to the regulator was given by Julian Ashby, Chair of the HCA regulation committee: “...we have seen cases where we would have refused consent if the provider had not first withdrawn or amended its application in the light of issues we have uncovered. These have usually involved applications to dispose of tenanted properties outside the regulated sector. We have seen cases where tenants were not meaningfully consulted on the proposed sale. In other cases, they were given little information about implications of leaving the regulated sector such as the potential for rent rises. In a few cases, tenants were not consulted at all.” That is what they tried when they were subject to regulation, watch out in the future (Paul Kershaw).
For More information see our reports:
Axe the Housing Act HOUSING SUMMIT 22 OCTOBER
Workshops, Discussions and planning of future actions to resist the vicious, destructive Housing and Planning act!
The Act attacks existing tenants and will push more into private renting without rights or rent controls. It will not come into full force until after April 2017 and this allows us a little time to build on nation wide consensus against it. A big and growing grassroots movement is determined to resist and defeat it. Trade unions and councils have a key part to play to stop this Act.
11.30am, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, WC1H 9BD