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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2000): Social Housing - UK

THE £19 BILLION QUESTION

G. Moody

Roof, July/Aug. 2000, p.14

The Housing green paper pledged the improvement of all council housing within ten years at a cost of £19 billion. Author calculates that the target could met in 14 years at no extra cost provided the Treasury forgoes any savings it might have expected to reap from the transfer programme.

A DECENT HOME FOR ALL?

S. Regan

New Economy, Vol.7, 2000, p.104-106

Looks at the funding implications of the Housing green paper, including:

  • provision for tackling the backlog of council house repairs;
  • new forms of ownership of council housing in the shape of "arm's length companies";
  • reform of Housing Benefit;
  • introduction of subsidised home ownership schemes for key works in expensive areas

ELDERLY WILL GET FREE HEATING SYSTEMS

M. McCarthy

Independent, June 19th 2000, p.11

The Government is to spend more than £250m on free central-heating systems for thousands of older people on low incomes. The grants are designed to combat "fuel poverty" - where a household needs to spend more than 10 per cent of its income to maintain satisfactory warmth.

AN ENGLISHMAN'S HOME.

A. Ewart

Housing, June 2000, p.44-46

The housing system in the UK is dominated by home ownership, and limits access to social housing to those on low-incomes. The modest reforms proposed in the recent Green Paper on housing are unlikely to reduce the stigma associated with council housing.

FAR FROM RALITY

B. Payne

Guardian. Society, June 7th 2000, p.6-7

Argues against the government's proposals for linking rents of social housing to local property values. This would lead to rents rising in the South and falling in the North. Lowered Northern rents might not produce enough income to keep local housing associations viable.

FIGHTING FUEL POVERTY

T. Brown

Public Finance, June 23rd-29th 2000, p.27

Describes the governments Affordable Warmth initiative which allows social housing providers to lease new energy-efficient central heating systems for homes rather than fund them from capital budgets. Affordable warmth should help to accelerate investment in housing stock and improve the quality of life for the poorest people.

FROM PILLIAR TO POST: FAILING TO MEET THE SUPPORT AND HOUSING NEEDS OF VULNERABLE PEOPLE

M. Waters

London: Shelter, 2000

A survey of Shelter's network of housing aid centres and projects found that Housing and Social Services departments are not working together, leading to the needs of homeless people not being met. Guidance to local authorities encouraging departments to work together is not enough; a new statutory duty on councils to prevent homeless from occurring is required.

GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO IGNORE THE PARTICULAR PROBLEMS OF RURAL HOUSING IN ENGLAND

T. Brown

Housing, June 2000, p.37

Borrowing ideas from urban situations may not always be appropriate given the complex and diverse nature of rural housing issues. Instead, the government should explicitly recognise and acknowledge rural housing issues and encourage and publicise innovative policies and practices.

HOUSING ASSOCIATION HOMES TO RENT. ANYONE WELCOME

B. Randall

Housing, June 2000, p.48-49

By developing Market rent schemes with private finance in many of Britain's major cities, housing associations are offering accommodation to move affluent people who do not want to buy but like the idea of living in the city centre.

LIVERPOOL'S HOUSING MAKEOVER

B. Simpson and M. Ware

Public Finance, June 23rd - 29th 2000, p.23-25

Maintenance of council housing stock in Liverpool and responsibility for renovating empty properties has been contracted out to the private sector.

THE MAN WITH THE PLAN

J. Prescott

Housing, June 2000, p.16-18

Summarises the main proposals of the recent housing green paper to support low-cost home ownership, license houses in multiple occupation, facilitate large scale transfer of council housing stock to registered social landlords (RSLs), reform the allocation system for social housing so that tenants have more choice about where they live, and combat Housing Benefit fraud.

MANAGING DIRECTION

J. Swinney

Roof, July/Aug. 2000, p.20

Argues that major service improvements in social housing will only be achieved if the roles of landlord and manager are separated.

A NATIONAL HOUSING POLICY? THAT'S SO '20TH CENTURY'!

B. Line

Housing, May 2000, p.18-19

Argues that the main theme of the recent Green Paper is the application of the discipline of the market to social housing provision in the UK.

NORTH EAST DERBYSHIRE HOUSING PFI

B. Best

Axis, June/July 2000, p.10-11

North East Derbyshire District Council (NEDDC) was the first local authority to introduce a PFI housing scheme in partnership with South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA). NEDDC prepared an output specification of the services required in terms of types of household to be housed, initial rent levels, rent increase formula, and housing management and maintenance performance standards. SYHA agreed to provide these services through design, build, finance and operate arrangements.

PFI AND RSLS

P. Porter

Axis, June/July 2000, p.12-13

Housing associations have been slow to take up PFI for social housing despite their long-term involvement in public/private partnership funding. A PFI funding structure replaces an up-front capital grant from local authorities or the Housing Corporation with a stream of revenue payments from central government to local authorities to be used to support the service charges of the private sector service provider (RSL). The private sector provider borrows money to support its capital expenditure in building the houses required to provide housing services to the purchaser.

PFI COMES HOME

N. Merrick

Public Financè, June 2nd-8th 2000, p.20-21

Reports that once the eight ongoing pathfinder schemes finish, councils will be able to use the PFI option to improve their housing stock while retaining ownership.

PREVENTIVE APPROACHES IN HOUSING: AN EXPLORATION OF GOOD PRACTICE

P. Parkinson and D. Pierpoint

Anchor Trust, 2000

Research showed that, where people with high levels of disability and frailty used low-level services such as timely advice and access to home improvements, they were able to live comfortably in their own homes. Study looked at effective approaches in 16 housing settings from sheltered and general needs housing, both RSL and local authority, to owner occupiers and private tenants.

THE PRICE IS WRONG

D. Alexander

Roof, July/Aug. 2000, p.13

Argues against proposals to extend the right to buy to housing association tenants in Scotland.

PROMOTING PEOPLE POWER

D. Rodgers

Housing, June 2000, p.41

Tenant empowerment and consumer choice are at the heart of the Labour government's social housing strategy. Government wishes to create opportunities for tenants to form co-operatives and community based housing associations and take responsibility fore managing their own estates.

QUALITY AND CHOICE?

B. Iddon

Axis, June/July 2000, p.8-9

Comments on various aspects of the recent Housing Green paper, including proposals for housing benefit reform, the support of owner occupation, the large scale voluntary transfer of council stock to housing associations to facilitate customer-choice based letting systems.

RENT DIFFERENTIALS, HOUSING BENEFIT AND MANAGEMENT OF THE PUBLIC HOUSING STOCK IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

C. J. Mackay

Local Government Studies, vol.26. 2000, p.81-96

Despite the prevailing emphasis on markets and choice in the public services there has been very little consideration of the way in which local authority rent setting policies can be used to influence demand for various types of properties. The present government has promised that long-delayed proposals for housing benefit reform will be brought forward soon. At the same time, social landlords have been increasingly concerned about high rates of turnover in their stock and in some areas low demand leading to abandonment and demolition. It is argued in this paper that greater rent differentials based on quality and location will be needed to cope with such changes.

SOCIAL INCLUSION AND HOUSING IN THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT: PROSPECTS?

M. Taylor and D. Sim

Critical Social Policy, vol.20, 2000, p.183-210

Article questions how the powers, structures and resources of the Scottish Parliament condition its scope for action to increase social inclusion through housing policy. It argues that institutional and resource constraints surround future housing policy interventions and concludes that greater social inclusion is more likely through participation and improved economic prospects than through housing policy.

THIRD WAY ON TRIAL

D. Mullins and K. Revell

Roof, July/Aug. 2000, p.29-31

Articles reviews the performance of UK transfer landlords and compares it with that of mainstream housing associations. Results show that they are generally meeting Housing Corporation performance standards and achieving cost advantages over other housing associations. However there are concerns about rent increases, affordability, and varying arrangements for tackling homelessness and meeting ethnic minority needs.

THREE CHEERS, THREE FEARS

B. Simons

Roof, July/Aug. 2000, p.17

Welcomes the Housing green paper's proposals on: the enhancing of the strategic role of local authorities; clearing the council housing repairs backlog; strengthening homelessness legislation; and introduction of new types of tenure. However, expresses concern about the proposals for rent reform, provision of new affordable housing, and housing benefit reform.

TIDE TURNING?

C. Holmes

Roof, July/Aug 2000, p.18-19

The recent Housing green paper focuses on long term rent reform, greater investment in affordable housing and more rights for homeless people. The vision of the green paper of ensuring a decent home for everyone needs to be backed by adequate resourcing and the development of ore mixed income, socially - balanced communities.

TIME RUNNING OUT FOR CHANGE

L. Phelps

Roof, July/Aug. 2000, p.22-24

The recent Housing green paper, has shied away from radical reform of housing benefit towards a small - scale approach, with few clear commitments and a number of options suggested.

VIEWS ON THE LARGE SCALE VOLUNTARY TRANSFER PROCESS

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

London: 2000

Tenants who switch from a local authority to a housing association are more satisfied with the new landlord than the old. However, satisfaction ratings among large scale voluntary transfer tenants may decline once initial improvements have been carried out. Stock transfers have also resulted in the creation of new associations specifically set up to manage former local authority homes which are more dynamic and financially robust than existing registered social landlords.

WHAT'S THE PLAN

E. Hawkey

Housing, May 2000, p.27-29

The government claims to be committed to creating mixed income communities with a diverse economic population. However it has in fact wasted opportunities to strengthen the link between planning and social inclusion. The revised Planning Policy Guidance (PPG3) falls short of giving planners the tools to achieve on appropriate mix of households on new housing schemes.

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