Tag Archives: housing

LGA finally agrees a common line on Housing Bill

Terraced housing

It’s never easy doing politics in the Local Government Association. Some commentators carelessly say that it is ‘Conservative-controlled’ because the Chairman, elected under carefully balanced internal horse-trading rules, is at the moment a Conservative.

But in reality it is a perpetual coalition, with each of the four political groups having a veto on the association’s public stance. This applies to any issue and to any press release.

So it is good to see that the LGA has now published a statement on the Housing and Planning Bill, even if the …

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The role of profit in ambition for housebuilding

We have planning permission for around 8000 units granted and unstarted in Sheffield, and numerous brownfield sites which are considered unviable for development. The authority is in danger of not meeting its housing land supply, and a green belt review is looming. This is a northern perspective, and I daresay the issues are different in the south.

Now a common feature of the planning system as it operates in practice seems to be the negotiation between planners and developers to add conditions and extract gains from developments to serve public interest goals, such as:

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Tim Farron writes… continuing the fight against the affordable homes flog off

 

I made it clear over the summer and in my conference speech that housing and homelessness would be a top priority for me as leader. I said we would oppose the Right to Buy extension to Housing Associations and fight the Government tooth and nail in the Lords.

The fight is now well underway. I have been speaking in Parliament and will continue to lead our campaign in the House of Commons. After Christmas the legislation will be debated in the Lords, where our Lib Dem team will aim to cause the Government serious problems – which they have shown us in the last few weeks that they can do!

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LibLink: Cllr Peter Thornton: Harold Macmillan built our house

Peter Thornton is the Liberal Democrat leader of South Lakeland Council. Their area includes Tim Farron’s Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency. Housing has long been one of the priorities of the Liberal Democrat administration. Peter writes for the Huffington Post comparing the current Conservative thinking on housing to that of their predecessors in the 1950s and 1960s. Harold Macmillan built his family home, he said, on the instructions of Winston Churchill:

This was a generation who knew that setting targets and making speeches was not enough to make things happen. Production, supply lines, labour forces, these were also needed to win wars and also to build the homes that we needed.

Macmillan made sure brickworks were at full production, he organised supplies of softwood from abroad and he divided the country into ten regions, each with it’s own targets. He realised that public housing, Council Houses as we all knew them, was the most efficient way to build homes quickly for the people who needed them.

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: The Tory assault on housing associations is another betrayal

Nick Clegg has a new regular Evening Standard column and in the latest edition, he talks about housing.

After a look at the history and importance of housing associations, Nick writes about how he and Danny Alexander secured assurances that housing associations would receive support to continue building more houses for rent. These assurances have now been trashed now the Tories have a majority:

Five years ago I dissuaded the Conservatives in Coalition from fiddling with social rents to cut the housing benefit bill because it would have had a disastrous effect on the ability of housing associations to raise the money

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Ten Lib Dem council leaders call for borrowing powers to build council houses

Terraced housing
Ten Liberal Democrat council leaders, including the party’s local government spokesperson Watford Mayor Dorothy Thornhill, have written to the Guardian to call for the government to allow councils to borrow money to build council houses to deal with the “national emergency” in housing provision:

As Liberal Democrat council leaders we are outraged at the government’s short-sightedness in selling off council homes to pay for the right-to-buy extension to housing associations (PM warns councils over housing provision, 12 October). We have a vast shortage of affordable homes, which constitutes nothing short of a national emergency, and yet the government is seeking to make quick financial gains by disposing of properties that could provide much-needed homes for generations. Forcing right to buy on housing associations was the wrong policy before the election and it remains the wrong policy now. Shifting homes from one tenure to another without addressing our failure to build enough homes overall is like rearranging the deckchairs on a sinking ship.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Ignore the spin – social housing is still under threat from the Conservatives

Tim Farron has put David Cameron’s new housing policy under the microscope and found it wanting. We should take notice of what he says because he knows a lot about housing, the issue that brought him into politics and has made his number one priority. Writing in the New Statesman, he says:

This is still an economically illiterate and socially divisive policy with devastating consequences, which was flung into the Conservative election campaign in a last minute attempt to grab some votes by invoking memories of Thatcher.

Firstly, selling off housing association homes does nothing to address the national emergency in housing. The huge shortage

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