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ARCH invited to meet Housing Minister Esther McVey 05/09/2019 Labelled as Development, Consultation

ARCH Chair, Cllr Kim Caddy and Chief Executive John Bibby have been invited to meet the new Housing Minister Esther McVey MP.


Following her appointment to replace Kit Malthouse as Housing Minister in Boris Johnson's new government ARCH and the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) wrote a joint letter to the new Housing Minister Esther McVey to welcome her into post and to seek an early meeting with her.


In our letter to the new Minister we made the case for council housing highlighting the fact that the Government's 2017 Housing White Paper recognised that there is a need to fix the broken housing market and drawing attention to the work that ARCH and the NFA and our members have been doing to gear up the sector to deliver a new generation of high-quality council housing as a key part of a mixed-tenure market.


The Government has previously acknowledged that if it is to reach its target of delivering 300,000 new homes each year, investment in council housing and social housing at genuine social rent is essential, not only to meet that annual target but to address the needs of those that the housing market is currently unable to meet.


We believe this is fundamentally important to solving the housing crisis and addressing the homelessness crisis; as well as ensuring people on low incomes have security to live and work where they can build a better life for themselves and their families and contribute to the post Brexit economy.


We highlighted to the new Minister how ARCH and NFA members have been gearing up to support the government in solving the housing crisis following a number of very welcome recent government policy announcements, including the longer-term rent deal from 2020, the abolition of the HRA borrowing cap and the removal of the High Value Asset Levy. This has enabled them to start to develop the long-term plans which are so needed within the wider housing sector.


We also said we were pleased to see the Government's commitment in the 2018 Social Housing Green Paper to tackle the stigmatisation of social housing and social housing tenants.


The tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017 has left a long shadow and there are still many outstanding issues to be tackled if we are to achieve the goal of social housing we can all be proud of. The Government consulted widely with the sector and tenants on the Social Housing Green paper, and we said we were looking forward to publication of the Government's response to the consultation and action plan expected later this month.   


Given the importance for our members of both the outcomes of the Social Housing Green Paper and the need to build more homes, we asked to meet with the Minister to discuss how ARCH and the NFA may best be of practical support in delivering the Government's housing objectives.


We are pleased to announce that the Minister has responded to our letter and has invited ARCH Chair Councillor Kim Caddy and ARCH Chief Executive John Bibby, together with the NFA Chair and Managing Director to meet with her and a date for the meeting is currently being arranged.


We will update member councils on the outcome of the discussions with the Minister.

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