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The ARCH annual report for 2015-16 is now available to view.

 

Download it here.

Housing Green Paper Action Plan promised by September 28/06/2019 Labelled as Development, Legislation, Regulation

Speaking at the CIH Conference in Manchester on 26 June, outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May set out her legacy on housing and promised publication in September of an action plan and timetable for implementing wide-ranging reforms of social housing following the Social Housing Green Paper.

 

The Prime Minister said the action plan will include:

 

  • The creation of a stronger consumer regulation regime for social housing, enhancing tenants' rights and making it easier to enforce them.
  • Changes to the way complaints are resolved, so that tenants know exactly how to raise concerns and can be confident their voices will be heard and acted on.
  • Empowering residents further by requiring landlords to demonstrate how they have engaged with their tenants, and
  • A commitment to further boost the supply of high-quality social housing through the Affordable Homes Programme and other funding.

 

Echoing the title of the paper "Social Housing we can all be proud of" that ARCH submitted in June 2018  prior to the publication of the Green Paper, the outgoing Prime Minister also made reference to the 1919 Addison Act saying that "a hundred years after the introduction of Britain's first council houses, she wanted to see not just homes that people have to live in, but homes they want to live in, homes they can be proud to live in".

 

The Prime Minister also acknowledged that too many governments, including the previous one under David Cameron in which she served as Home Secretary, had concentrated solely on boosting home ownership, as if supporting those struggling to find a home to rent was somehow contrary to such an aim.

 

She said that under her government that attitude has changed and there had been a recognition that there are people for whom home ownership will never be a realistic aim. That for others renting is an unavoidable reality at one time or another and that some people simply choose to rent, especially if it allows them to live in an area they would otherwise struggle to afford. She said that being able to choose to rent a decent home in the place that suits you best is a vital part of a healthy housing system, one we see in every major developed economy and no government should ignore the needs of so many of its citizens.

 

She referred to the action taken to improve renting including:

 

  • Moves to increase the supply of affordable rental properties to meet the rising demand
  • Ending the proposals for a High Value Asset Levy on stock retained councils and the forced sale of high-value council properties
  • Putting £2 billion of extra funding into the Affordable Housing Programme with an explicit provision for building homes for social rent, and
  • Abolishing the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap so that local authorities are free to build once more
  • Introduction of a new five- year social rent policy giving social landlords the financial security they need to borrow, invest, and build
  • Scrapping the so-called "pay to stay" policy
  • Confirming that her government will not pursue plans to abolish lifetime tenancies for new council tenants
  • Retaining supported housing in the welfare system.

 

The Prime Minister also announced that the Ministry of Housing will shortly be launching a consultation on environmental performance in new build homes, with a Future Homes Standard that will give all new homes world-leading levels of energy efficiency by 2025.

 

She also said she wanted to see changes to regulations so that developers can only build homes that are big enough for people to actually live in and said the next government should be bold enough to ensure the Nationally Described Space Standard applies to all new homes and becomes a mandatory regulation.

 

The Prime Minister also announced that a consultation on repeal of Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act will be published shortly, with a view to introducing legislation later this year to ban so-called "no-fault" evictions in the private rented sector.

 

Read the full text of the Prime Minister's speech


John Bibby, ARCH Chief Executive comments:

 

"There is no doubt that Theresa May's government has been good for council housing and stock retained councils are in a far better position than that faced three years ago under the Cameron government when the provisions of Part 4 of the Housing & Planning Act 2016 seemed likely to see a further residualisation of council housing with the introduction of a High Value Asset Levy, the requirement to sell vacant high value council housing as it became vacant, mandatory fixed term tenancies and "pay to stay" for households with incomes over £31,000.

 

The Prime Minister's commitment to deliver a new generation of council housing and the scrapping of the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap will allow councils to expand their new build programmes and build more council housing.

 

Much of what ARCH was asking for in 2015 has been delivered by Mrs. May's government but the total stock of council housing continues to decline as the number of homes sold under the Right to Buy currently far exceeds the number of new council homes being built.

 

It remains to be seen whether Mrs. May's successor as Prime Minister will continue to support the delivery of a new generation of council housing. ARCH will continue to make the case for council housing to the new government and in the year of the centenary of the Addison Act, we look forward to seeing the detail of the government's action plan and timetable for implementation of the Social Housing Green Paper proposals to ensure that council housing has a sustainable future over the next 100 years."

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