Tag Archives: housing

LibLink: Sarah Teather: Let’s stop the scourge of revenge eviction

Sarah TeatherSarah Teather has been writing for the Guardian about the problems created by so-called revenge eviction and how her Private Members’ Bill will tackle it. First she gave an example of what had happened to her constituent:

Last month, a constituent came to my office in Brent for help after his landlord served him with an eviction notice. His property suffered from severe cold and a cockroach infestation, and following an environmental health inspection the council served notice on the landlord to fix the property. The landlord decided to evict my constituent and re-let the flat instead.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 4 Comments

LibLink: Sarah Teather: Tackling revenge eviction – a step closer

Sarah Teather was one of the five Liberal Democrat MPs who won a spot in the annual ballot (actually a big raffle) for Private Members’ Bills. John Hemming is tackling secrecy in the family courts, Andrew George the Bedroom Tax, Martin Horwood is trying to stop parking on pavements while Mike Moore wants to enshrine the 0.7% aid target into law.

Sarah’s bill is to stop your landlord chucking you out in the street if you complain about poor conditions. So called revenge evictions cause huge problems. She’s written a blog for Shelter explaining what her bill would do and why it is necessary:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Tim Farron MP writes…We must continue to fight hard for fairer housing

In case you weren’t able to make it to Glasgow, here’s some good news from Conference. The hard work that many people in the party have done on housing is being recognised. Jules Birch, housing blogger, sums up our party’s policies on housing: ‘As so often before the Lib Dems look like going into the next election with the best housing policies.’

This is not an easy feat. Housing is a complex issue which spreads its effects throughout society. It runs all the way from the individual tragedies of homelessness, to structure of our economy and the psychology of homeownership. To sort out housing you need action on at least four fronts: land, finance, the home building industry and political leadership. So bringing in my own motion on housing, it was a real privilege to build on the work that the party has already done to address the whole spectrum of issues affected by poor housing policy. I want to thank everybody who contributed to our policy development, spoke in the debate and voted for it.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 4 Comments

Opinion: Lib Dems must commit to end the housing crisis within a generation

Matilda HouseThis Monday in Glasgow, Lib Dem conference will debate motion F21 “Building the Affordable Homes We Need”. The Liberal Democrats have a fantastic opportunity to tackle the greatest social challenge of my generation, the housing crisis.

The economic and social cost of this crisis is huge. England needs around 245,000 new homes a year just to meet demand. Yet we are building half the homes we need. The latest figures show that the average income needed to buy a home is £36,500, higher than the incomes of more than half of the households in the country.

Add to that the largest baby boom since the 1960s, between 2001 and 2012, and we can see that this is a crisis that threatens to engulf the hopes and dreams of a generation, many of whom will never be able to afford a home they can truly call their own. But, for me, this crisis has always been about more than numbers.

photo by: celesteh
Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged | 8 Comments

Opinion: Let’s keep social housing in London

As the ‘housing crisis’ debates continue and all political parties table motions to attract voters for the 2015 elections, we in Hackney Downs feel it’s time to raise our campaign which is in support of social housing in London.

Our bold online petition is calling for London Local Authorities and Chief Executives to publicly declare their non-attendance and to actively refrain from selling our public land for housing at the property fair in October 2014 and thereafter.  The host boroughs have already done so and it is time the remaining boroughs follow.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Opinion: Housing is the cost of living crisis

Today there are more affordable products than ever. Not only have freer markets driven down prices on almost every consumer good imaginable they have expanded range. You can get more luxury goods than ever before but you can also get more discount/budget goods. Electronics, clothing, food, beauty products, household items, I could go on… And yet we are experiencing a so-called ‘Cost of Living Crisis.’ This is a fundamentally dishonest way of framing the debate about cost of living today. There is no ‘cost of food crisis,’ no ‘cost of washing machines crisis,’ and no ‘cost of clothes’ crisis. The only thing that is more expensive is housing.

Housing outside London is 35% more expensive than its equivalent in wider Europe according to a new study, ‘The impact of the supply constraints on house prices in England,’ set to be published in the Economic Journal. This is certainly not due to a lack of enfranchisement. Like everything else credit and mortgages are cheaper than they have ever been due to interest rates being kept artificially low. So what’s the problem? According to this paper, houses are too expensive because the supply has been needlessly cauterized. The UK has suffered from dysfunctional housing policies since the aftermath of WWII. However, the seeds of this dysfunction were sown even earlier. The Town & Country Planning Act 1947 deepened this dysfunction and houses are meaner in size and shorter in supply than they ought to be directly because of this legislation and its subsequent incarnations. The supply issue was subsequently worsened most notably under Thatcher and Blair. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 86 Comments

Stephen Williams writes … Energy efficient homes, house building and minority rights for Cornwall

Terraced housingAs we have now begun the summer recess, I wanted to write an update on the progress that has been made at the Department for Communities and Local Government in recent months. Despite differences in priority between our Conservative coalition partners we have made huge strides in key policy areas and I believe that we should be proud and confident highlighting these achievements on the door step.

One of the most crucial recent breakthroughs has been in regards to zero carbon homes. As I am sure you are aware, if we are to meet our carbon emissions targets then we have to make our housing stock more energy efficient by introducing strict new regulations. This, of course, is easier said than done and we have had to work extensively with developers, industry representatives and environmental groups in order to agree ambitious yet practical energy efficiency targets.  As a result of drawn out negotiations with the Conservatives, the government is now legislating, through the Infrastructure Bill, to introduce a list of ‘allowable solutions’. This is the final measure needed to enable house builders to construct all new homes to a zero-carbon standard from 2016. Zero carbon homes has been a key priority for me since becoming a minister and I am delighted that this incredibly important green policy is now being delivered.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 9 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron – Where have all the political giants gone?

CO 1069-1-3. Harold Macmillan. Photo by National ArchIves UKOver on politics.co.uk, party president Tim Farron has been expanding on some of the themes of his weekend lecture. He begins with some interesting history:

When you ask me who my political heroes are, I will reel off a list of people like Beveridge, Penhaligon, Harry Willcock (the man who brought down the ID cards scheme in the 1950s) and Paddy Ashdown.  But in the last 12 months I have become attached to Harold MacMillan, when he was housing minister between 1951-1954. This admission usually raises an eyebrow or two.

Now, MacMillan is a much maligned political figure, I think that has much more to do with his association with David Cameron than to do with him. But as housing minister he was someone who, working under the post-war consensus, delivered one the best social policy achievements of the 20th century – he delivered 300,000 homes a year.

In 1951, he was appointed by Churchill to be housing minister – his task, to build 300,000 per year. It was a bold policy in the Conservative party manifesto and one many considered totally undeliverable. Famously, when tasked by Churchill, he was told: “It is a gamble. It will make or mar your political career. But every humble home will bless your name if you succeed.”

photo by:
Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Bedroom Tax review raises serious questions – abolition or serious reform is now essential

Bedroom tax demo , all the photos taken with a iphone 5In amidst the excitement of the Cabinet reshuffle, the Government slipped out its first interim review of what is technically called the “Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy”. That’s the “Bedroom Tax” to you and me. The conclusions are pretty damning:

At the time of the research, four out of five claimants affected by the RSRS were reported by landlords to be paying some or all of their shortfall, although half of these had failed to pay in full. There

photo by: paul bevan
Posted in News | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

Nick Clegg: £104 million investment is an important day for Hull

City HallWho’d have thought Nick Clegg would write for the Daily Mail? Well, actually, not THAT one, but the Hull Daily Mail about the Government’s £104 million investment in local infrastructure which will be spent on transport links, housing and flood defences. It’s a Liberal Democrat initiative to have local councils and communities decide where money is best spent – good old fashioned liberal decentralisation.

He talked about how he has put his vision into practice:

I wanted to see every part of Britain given more freedom than at the start of this

photo by:
Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 5 Comments

Opinion: Tackling Housing Benefit reform

Matilda HouseThe Liberal Democrat policy paper on housing notes that the primary driver of growing housing benefit and Local Housing Allowance bills has been the shortage of housing, leading to higher rents, and increasing number of people unable either to buy or to access social housing. The paper focused on the most pressing issues:

  • Building more homes – providing environmentally sustainable homes where people need them, creating jobs and kick starting the economy.
  • Giving tenants more power and security – making social landlords more accountable and improving standards and security in the rapidly

photo by: celesteh
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 39 Comments

Nick Clegg’s press conference: A new policy, looking ahead to an “independent, liberal” manifesto, Iraq, leadership and Smarties

Nick Clegg Q&A 19I promised you a bit more from Nick Clegg’s  monthly press conference this morning. Overnight, he had released his opening statement, but there was a surprise to come – a shiny new policy.  Now, obviously, that has to come to Conference so it’s not set in stone, but I suspect it will get a favourable hearing.

From cradle to college

Basically, all early years and school education funding, including the Pupil Premium, will be ring-fenced.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 54 Comments

When Vince Cable warns we should listen

Vince Cable - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsWhen Vince Cable issues a warning we should all pay heed.

According to the Guardian he was speaking last week at the Resolution Foundation and claimed that booming house prices are destabilising the economy. He said we should all be worried about what will happen when interest rates return to normal.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

Opinion: The “Bedroom Tax”: a great socialist policy?

Bedroom tax demo , all the photos taken with a iphone 5One thing escapes most political commentators when critiquing the merits of the Bedroom Tax. It is, of course, a great socialist policy.

Of course most commentators accept New Labour introduced the Bedroom Tax through the Local Housing Allowance policy from 2003 to 2008. The mistake commentators make is that they believe LHA to be an ideologically compassionate conservative policy, instead of democratic socialist one.

The argument has two parts. The first is relatively straight forward. For a socialist common ownership (of which …

photo by: paul bevan
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 39 Comments

Rent reforms – Miliband to announce 20th area of Lib-Lab agreement today

decent homesSix weeks ago I highlighted the 17 policy areas where there is significant agreement between Labour and the Lib Dems. These range from tax-cuts for low-earners and the mansion tax to local school accountability to an EU in/out referendum. There were also two areas I omitted, flagged by Adam Corlett in a comment here: childcare and a living wage.

A 20th area can now be added, with Ed Miliband set to announce Labour’s plans for the private rental sector, some of which mirror the Lib Dems’ Decent Home

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 25 Comments

Clegg announces three new garden cities to be built

Nick Clegg Q&A York Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsThe BBC reports:

Up to three garden cities, each with more than 15,000 homes will be built to help deal with a “chronic” housing shortage, Nick Clegg has announced. The deputy prime minister promised “high-quality homes in thriving new communities”, on potential sites yet to be identified.

Funding from an existing £2.4bn pot will be made available for developments being built up to 2020. Councils will be asked to raise any concerns over the schemes.

Last year 109,370 new homes were completed in England, …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 17 Comments

Opinion: Don’t close spare room subsidy loophole – just yet

In January, it was revealed that there was a loophole in the Government’s welfare reforms. The loophole relates to those people claiming Housing Benefit whilst in the same property for at least the past 17 years.

The government have indicated they will reverse this loophole as soon as possible. Reports suggest legislation will be brought forward in March.

I would call on the government to hold on closing this loophole until the independent review, ordered by Nick Clegg, has reported back on the implications of the spare bedroom subsidy.

I base this on my own experiences. Although I lost my seat in May

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

Opinion: Tackling Britain’s housing crisis

Terraced housingLiberal Democrats have long recognised the housing crisis that has grown steadily worse since the 1979 Conservative Government stopped councils building new homes.  In Government, Liberal Democrats have made a good start at increasing the number of affordable homes built for rent, with 335,000 homes to be completed between 2011 and 2018, and supported initiatives to help deliver market housing.

We’ve also agreed an ambitious target of 300,000 new homes each year for overall housing supply as party policy.  But even with some councils starting to build again, there is a long way to go before anywhere near enough homes are built each year in Britain to meet need. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 13 Comments

Farron: Tories are “nimby” over garden cities

From today’s Telegraph:

A secret Whitehall report recommending that two new cities are built in southern England to combat the housing shortage is being suppressed by David Cameron, The Telegraph can disclose.

The document was drawn up after the Prime Minister gave a speech supporting the idea nearly two years ago. It was described this week by Nick Clegg, his deputy, as a “prospectus” for future developments.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 16 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron – Why has the plight of the overcrowded and the homeless not been prioritised?

In a hard-hitting article in today’s Guardian, Tim Farron hits out at David Cameron’s “lack of humanity in face of basic need” on housing while outlining what Liberal Democrats want to see done to make sure that there are enough affordable houses for people.

He outlines the scale of the problem first:

The real divide in modern Britain is not between strivers and shirkers, but between those who were lucky enough to buy homes before 1997 and those who were not. Unless we tackle the housing crisis, homelessness is going to become a mainstream problem. Working families can’t afford to buy, and

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 21 Comments

Opinion: It’s time to say Yes to Homes

Britain is in the grip of a housing crisis. There are 1.8m households on waiting lists for affordable homes, totalling over 4.5m people. Millions of young people are priced out of the housing market, unlikely to ever be able to afford to buy their own home. Poor quality, overcrowded accommodation impacts significantly on the health and well-being of its residents. It is undoubtedly one of the great social crises of my generation.

Yet for all the statistics, case studies and figures there are two that really stand out – 98,280 and 240,000. The first is the number of new homes built last …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Delivering affordable homes and new jobs in London

Affordable Homes for LondonLast month house prices in London rose by 10 per cent – yes you read that correctly. Yet affordable homes, not over-inflated house prices, are what we need.

For an overseas investor in London’s housing market – and there are many – the price rises are wonderful news. They will be equally welcome by someone who has cleared their mortgage and is looking to sell up and move out of the capital. However, for most people who live in the capital or plan to move to the capital, such price rises are far from welcome.

It is not sustainable for people to ‘earn’ far more from rising house prices than working. As Vince Cable has rightly said these soaring house prices in London as “dangerous and unsustainable”. Vince is also right to express his misgivings about the Help to Buy scheme, which will almost certainly contribute to the over-inflated housing market in London and the South East.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

Stephen Williams MP writes… Making self build accessible

Houses being builtI was honoured to be appointed as Liberal Democrat Communities and Local Government Minister in the recent reshuffle. As a former councillor and passionate advocate of localism, I am excited to take up my post in the Department for Communities and Local Government and hope to continue the good work of my predecessors Don Foster and Andrew Stunell.

At last month’s autumn conference in Glasgow, Don announced measures to open up the self build market to those on lower incomes.

 

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

The 17th Tory policy Lib Dems have blocked: Clegg rejects Theresa May’s plans to impose new immigration regulations on private landlords

Perhaps the silliest proposal in a generally thread-bare Queen’s Speech in May was the Conservatives’ plan to ‘look busy’ on immigration.

Yes, the party that claims to want to cut back red-tape for small businesses decided to try and tie-up private landlords in it by imposing a legal duty on them check the immigration status of new tenants and lodgers. It’s an, erm, interesting approach to regulation, I guess: out-sourcing it to people who’ll have no way of validating the information they’re given.

However, the Tories’ grand plans have been scuppered thanks to the Lib Dems, as The Guardian …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 7 Comments

Danny Alexander writes… A good home should not be a luxury for the few, but an achievable aspiration for the many

Across the UK tens of thousands of aspiring homeowners find themselves in the same situation. They have steady jobs, reasonable incomes, but for them the dream of owning their own home is currently just that-a dream. It’s made even worse by the fact that they can afford the mortgage repayments on a new home.

The one thing holding them back is the cost of a big deposit. And without parents wealthy enough to give them a helping hand these aspiring homeowners will continue to be excluded from the property ladder. I don’t think our housing market should be shut off …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 85 Comments

Does any Lib Dem except Danny Alexander support the Coalition’s ‘Help to Buy’ house price inflation scheme?

I missed it yesterday, but have just caught up with Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander’s (rather flailing) attempts on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme to justify the second stage of the Coalition’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme for folk wanting to buy their own house. You can listen to it here or below.

There are two stages to ‘Help to Buy’. The first, announced by George Osborne earlier this year, offered anyone purchasing a newly built home costing less than £600,000 the opportunity to apply for a 20% government-guaranteed loan with just a 5% deposit. The Economist explains the rationale:

The basic economic thrust makes sense. Rental rates are high in Britain, meaning punishing payments to landlords. Given that a mortgage can be cheaper, wider home ownership could put more disposable cash in Britons’ wallets. In an economy where private consumption accounts for four-fifths of spending cutting housing costs in this way is likely to boost GDP. And since this part of Help to Buy is tied to building, it should work even if the new nests end up in the hands of buy-to-let landlords: a bigger housing stock should drive down rents, and provide jobs for the workers that build them.

The big problem comes with the second stage of ‘Help to Buy’, which breaks the explicit link with new-build housing. From this month, pre-owned property also qualifies. If widely taken up, it will stoke demand among eligible buyers but do nothing to increase supply: a recipe for house price inflation in many areas, especially London and the south-east. That will be good for the equity of home-owners like me, but rubbish for those not yet on the housing ladder who find themselves once again priced out of the market. Here’s The Economist again:

The prospect is unnerving, especially since the new part of the scheme may well distort banks’ incentives by driving a wedge between what they lend and the risks they face. With the housing market already rampant in London—up 20% annually in the trendiest parts of the city—and pepping up in the rest of the country too, Help to Buy is adding heat to a market that does not need it.

The Coalition appears to be banking on the winners from the scheme being happier and more numerous than the losers. Depressingly, there’s a chance they’re right. After all, Margaret Thatcher’s ‘Right to Buy’ did serious damage to the country’s social housing stock, but was (unsurprisingly) highly popular with those it helped. That said, the latest polling on ‘Help to Buy from YouGov suggests the public, post-credit crunch, is more alert to the dangers of house price inflation than it was: by 58% to 17%, voters reckon the new scheme risks creating a housing bubble.

Danny thinks it’s all worth the risk: “Our housing market has to be opened to a wider range of people,” he says. Don’t we all? The way to do that, though, is by increasing housing supply, not by the kind of blatant market-manipulation the Coalition (rightly) slams Ed Miliband for when he makes similarly ill-thought through promises to fix energy prices.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 35 Comments

The Independent View: The Lib Dems can – and should – be the Party of the Entrepreneurs

Every party claims, in some way, to be on the side of small business, but none has really given new and potential businesses much time or attention. Firms that do not yet exist are much less easy to champion and harder still to help than existing small businesses, but they are no less important.

It may be no wonder, then, that not one of the three main party leaders mentioned entrepreneurs in their Autumn conference speeches. That’s why today we at the Adam Smith Institute are helping to launch The Entrepreneurs Network, a new think tank dedicated to giving …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 8 Comments

“Mr Sprawl” Miliband abandons localism – but will he deliver good housing?

Ravilous Labour New TownsSomething big needs saying about housing. I guess Ed Miliband thinks he has achieved it. Maybe, but when I read his speech it struck me as bluster and a recipe for chaos, peppered with some rather cute ideas.

We need new homes. We also need good planning. The success or failure of new towns, urban extensions and housing estates depends on location, fortune, ambition and leadership. But above all those towns that work are a triumph of planning.

For every housing scheme that has been an outstanding success, another has failed. For every booming new town like Milton Keynes or Welwyn Garden City, there is a Cumbernauld or Corby.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

Conference: Do the Liberal Democrats want more homes and more jobs?

Do the Liberal Democrats want more homes and more jobs? That and other questions that will get an answer, one way or another, when our Conference debates the economy today (Monday). One of the two amendments tabled by the Social Liberal Forum with support from 100 Conference representatives calls for the Coalition to commence the dramatic increase in housebuilding that the Party endorsed last year.

The barriers to this at present are, as ever, in the housebuilding industry and the Treasury.

The former has by most estimates some 400,000 planning consents at its disposal, assisted by policies that effectively waived the lapsing …

Posted in Conference | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

Conference: There is an urgent need for more social housing

Lord Shipley gives some of the background to Amendment 2 to the Economy Motion. 

A year ago our Party committed itself to building up to 300,000 new homes a year. The proposals were outlined in the housing policy paper Decent Homes for All. The aim was to achieve this by supporting private investment and by giving greater powers to local councils and social landlords.

A shortage of homes has made it extremely difficult for young people to buy their own home. Rents continue to rise to unaffordable levels for many and 500,000 people in work now receive housing benefit because …

Posted in Conference | Also tagged and | 10 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User Avatarsuzanne fletcher 1st Nov - 1:09pm
    we seem to be forgetting that although it is said to be Italy's decision, it is Italy that is bearing the brunt of boats heading...
  • User AvatarHelen Tedcastle 1st Nov - 1:03pm
    Richard Church ' ...and they are clearly saying that they do not want to be pigeonholed by people who are desperate to defend continuing religious...
  • User AvatarStephen Donnelly 1st Nov - 12:53pm
    Nothing against an overseas appointment, but there must be someone outside the London establishment able to chair this enquiry. Are there no people from a...
  • User AvatarPeter Chegwyn 1st Nov - 12:48pm
    In answer to Simon's question, three at best, one at worst. And Simon is absolutely right to say that instead of gloating about Labour's problems...
  • User AvatarStephen Donnelly 1st Nov - 12:43pm
    Inevitable result of dispirited members who have little interest in the narrow target strategy, and a clique ridden structure that prevents new blood becoming involved.
  • User AvatarStephen Donnelly 1st Nov - 12:40pm
    I question whether there is a role for government to play here.