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Welfare Reform on the Web (July 2002): Social Housing - UK

£20BN WILL HOUSE KEY WORKERS, BUT MINISTERS PROMISE ONLY £20M

P. Inman

Guardian, May 2nd 2002, p. 19

Discusses the problem of providing affordable house for key public service workers in the light of soaring property prices. The government has paid out £230m in subventions of up to £27,000 each to help workers buy homes, but plans to spend only another £20m on the scheme.

ALL WE ARE SAYING IS GIVE PFI A CHANCE

A. Jennings

Public Finance, May 10th-16th 2002, p. 22-23

Argues that private finance initiative (PFI) schemes for the refurbishment, maintenance and management of council housing are in their infancy and have potential for growth and development as experience of their use increases.

BEST VALUE: A THREAT TO TENANT PARTICIPATION?

M. Britton

Housing, Apr. 2002, p. 21-24

The best value regime has made it a requirement for all council services to consult their users. However housing departments had already moved beyond consultation to tenant participation in decision-making. There is a danger that they may now fall back to the level of consultation, which is easier and enables the authority to hold on to the reins of power.

THE CHANGING FACE OF HOUSING INSPECTION

R. Irwin

Housing, Apr. 2002, p. 20-21

The Audit Commission is changing its approach to inspection of local authorities. The new system will consist of a comprehensive performance assessment comprising: a financial assessment by auditors, a service assessment by the relevant inspectorate, and a corporate assessment. The process will begin with a self-assessment by the council of its own services. The housing element of the inspection will look at three key areas: strategy and enabling functions, community housing services, and landlord functions.

COMMON GROUND

W. Wilkes

Roof, May/June 2002, p. 38-39

Some communities are seeking to register land as commons in order to prevent it being developed for housing.

HOUSING POLICY: AN INTRODUCTION

P. Balchin and M. Rhoden

London: Routledge, 2002

This book introduces UK housing policy with particular emphasis on its development since Labour's election victory in 1997. It demonstrates a gradual evolution in housing policy rather than any radical change in the way in which the different sectors are promoted.

INJECTING HOPE

S. O'Hara

Community Care, May 2nd-8th 2002, p. 36-37

Argues that more resources need to be invested in harm reduction, treatment and education services for drug users. Discusses how supported housing providers can help by offering such services to clients.

LEANER AND MEANER

M. Delargy

Roof, May/June 2002, p. 20-21

At present banks are ready to lend money to housing associations at very competitive rates, but this situation may not last for ever.

NO MORE EMPTY GESTURES

B. Randall

Housing, Apr. 2002, p. 17-18

Reports interview with Jonathan Ellis, chief executive of the Empty Homes Agency. Discusses the advantages of the compulsory community leasehold order promoted by Hammersmith and Fulham Council. This would give councils power to take over empty homes, refurbish them, and rent them out to homeless households.

NOTICE TO QUIT

A. Benjamin

Guardian Society, March 27th 2002, p. 2-3

Repossession orders have more than doubled since 1994 as social landlords use them to recover debt. The article asks if arrears are due to housing benefit delays, and who's to blame?

THE ONLY WAY IS OUT

J. Perry

Public Finance, Apr. 26th-May 7th 2002, p. 26-27

Transferring council housing to new community based organisations is the only option available in Scotland to councils wanting to tackle the backlog of improvement and repair work. However Scottish councils have proved very reluctant to do this.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

N. Merrick

Public Finance, May 3rd-9th 2002, p. 28-29

Discusses why a group of council tenants in Leeds voted to reject a PFI regeneration scheme, and looks at the options still open to the authority.

SLIDING SCALE OF SUPPORT: GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION IN HOUSING

T. J. Sheridan and others

Housing Studies, vol. 17, 2002, p. 337-347

Paper looks at the various levels of government support public housing receives in four different countries: the UK, the USA, Sweden and New Zealand. It examines how government support has affected development, capital expenditures for maintenance, and rental structure and affordability. If finally assesses how all this affects credit risk within the sector.

THIS HOUSE IS NOT FOR SALE

M. Weaver

Guardian, May 10th 2002, p. 17

Council tenants in Birmingham have voted against the proposed transfer of their homes to a housing association, in spite of the fact that the local authority has no funds for essential repairs. If tenants in other large urban areas follow suit, the government's target of raising all council housing to an acceptable standard by 2010 will be missed.

VICTORY: GOVERNMENT COUNTS EVICTIONS

M. Delargy

Roof, May/June 2002, p. 18-19

In response to a Shelter campaign, the government has announced that county courts will record reasons for possession orders and start counting evictions by social landlords. Possession orders will be tracked to see how many result in eviction.

WAKEY, WAKEY!

A. Drury

Roof, May/June 2002, p. 41

Discusses a possible new model for social housing finance under which private developers would compete for money from the Social Housing Grant to build new houses and then subcontract the long term management to a registered social landlord.

WHO PULLS THE STRINGS?

E. Hawkey

Roof, May/June 2002, p. 22-25

Presents an overview of the influence of various stakeholders on housing policy, including middle class voters (NIMBY,s), the Treasury, civil servants, special advisers, local government, housing associations, and the voluntary sector.

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