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ARCH annual report

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

 

Download it here.

Labour Party publish results of their Affordable Housing Review & Green Paper 26/04/2018 Labelled as Consultation, Legislation

Following the announcement by the Government of the intention to publish a Social Housing Green Paper, the opposition Labour Party have published a review of its policy on social housing. 

 

Over 70 individuals and organisations made submissions to the Review including   ARCH.

 

We submitted our ARCH policy statement "Social Housing We All Be Proud Of" and on the 19 April 2018 the Labour Party published the initial outcome of its Review in the form of a Green Paper, Housing for the Many. 

 

The document's central proposal is a commitment to build one million genuinely affordable new homes over 10 years, of which the majority will be for social rent, with the rest at a Living Rent (defined as being no more than one third of average local incomes) or for low-cost home ownership.

 

Amongst the key measures proposed in the Labour Party Green Paper are:

 

  • Establishment of a separate Department for Housing with a Secretary of State with Cabinet membership, together with an OBR-style Office for Housing Delivery, with a specific remit to monitor and audit delivery of the affordable housing programme.

 

  • The suspension of the Right-to-Buy with councils only allowed to reinstate it if they had a proven plan to replace homes sold on a one-for-one, like-for-like basis and the proposed Higher Value Asset levy would be scrapped.

 

  • The lifting of caps on HRA borrowing to prudential limits, and a review of the way this borrowing is recorded in the national account;

 

  • Scrapping of the bedroom tax, protect housing benefit for under-21s and a proposal to "pause and fix" Universal Credit;

 

  • A new "Decent Homes 2" programme, to be completed within 5 years, would include a new fire-safety standard to add to the existing four Decent Homes criteria, including retro-fitting sprinklers in all high-rise blocks.

 

A number of measures are proposed to strengthen the rights and power of tenants including proposals to:

 

  • Consult on and set up and support an independent national organisation and a Commission to give tenants a stronger voice;#

 

  • consult on a duty for housing associations to have tenant representatives on their boards and consider how to improve the representation of council tenants in governance arrangements;

 

  • consult on strengthening the regulatory regime to improve consumer standards and the involvement of tenants;

 

  • reform the system of complaints and redress and consult on plans for a single housing Ombudsman;

 

  • scrap the potential ban on long-term council tenancies;

 

  • clarify the law to make sure that councils can offer homes to local people first without facing challenge in the courts;

 

  • clampdown on illegal sub-letting and right-to-buy fraud;

 

  • look at ways of improving access to legal aid in housing cases;

 

  • drop the currently-proposed reforms to the funding of supported housing and work with the housing sector on a new plan for long-term funding, while encouraging the provision of more homes for older and disabled people.

 

A copy of the Labour Party Affordable Housing Review and Green Paper "Housing for the Many" is available to download here and ARCH Policy Adviser Matthew Warburton has produced an ARCH Briefing Paper summarising the main points.

 

The Labour Party have highlighted a number of questions in their document to which responses are invited and the ARCH Executive Board will be considering its response at its next meeting on 21 May.

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