Author Archives: Emily Davey

The next housing crash

It’s not only the Tory crackdown on tax credits for families that will hit the working poor: it’s the Conservatives’ multiple mistakes on social housing that will do the most damage to our society. The problem is, these are less well-understood. Yet added together, they are set to cause a social housing sector crash almost comparable to the banking crash.

This is probably unintended – not least because there’s not one single policy that’s driving this. It’s the combination of a series of separate decisions that are coming together to fatally undermine the finances of many social housing providers, especially housing associations. More cuts in tax credits and benefits of course cause problems to the social housing sector by themselves – because they are certain to lead to greater rent arrears. But it’s only when you add in other changes, like the way benefits will be paid in the future, imposed cuts to housing association rents and the ideologically driven extension of the Right to Buy to Housing Associations, that the full disaster facing us becomes clearer.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 18 Comments

How new members helped us win in Grove

Like so many local parties in the days after our General Election defeat, the devastation we felt in Kingston was offset somewhat by the huge influx of new members, with over 130 joining since May 7th. The question was: how did we build on their enthusiasm when we were all so…..well, knackered?

And we were just putting plans together for new member welcome events when we got the tragic news that our longstanding councillor in Grove ward, Cllr Chrissie Hitchcock, had died suddenly. The fourth Grove by-election in recent years beckoned: in fact, the last one had been held on the same day as the General and we’d just held on by 18 votes – and we’d lost one of the 3 seats in the 2014 Borough-wide elections. So Grove was one of London’s most marginal wards.

To win in this split ward, we decided we needed all of the enthusiasm and energy of our new members. But how did we avoid putting them off, with just piles of leaflets?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Opinion: Cameron is in danger of being like Mugabe on property

Terraced housingHousing is Londoners’ top priority according to the polls. Not surprising – with problems ranging from the cost, to shortage and too often to the quality too.

Yet the Conservatives’ lead housing policy – to extend the right to buy to housing association tenants – will solve none of these London housing problems: we should make attacking it a Lib Dem campaign priority for next year’s GLA elections.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 38 Comments

Opinion: Should we regulate all private landlords – over to you, conference

The party’s housing working group has looked at the laws around the private rented sector. We had a choice of whether we regulate: no private landlords, or some private landlords or all private landlords. The party’s housing working group rejected the deregulation option. But we didn’t reach agreement on whether we should regulate some landlords, targeting landlords with more vulnerable tenants, or regulate all 1 million private landlords. It will be for conference to decide.

Large houses in multiple occupation (HMO), e.g. student houses, have always been regulated because HMO tenants have always been seen to be at a greater risk of harm. The Housing Act 2004 increased the regulation introducing licensing which covers both the state of the property and the ability of the landlord to manage the property. The Housing Act 2004 also enabled councils to introduce targeted licensing (Selective or Additional licensing) but only in areas subject to anti-social behaviour or low housing demand.

Posted in Conference, News and Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 32 Comments

Opinion: Four ways we can tackle the housing crisis

Housing is moving up the agenda -– and looks like being a key issue in next year’s London elections. The Greater London Authority now has more powers over housing and given London is still dogged by a lack of affordable homes to rent, lease or buy, despite the recession, it’s reasonable for Londoners to expect the next Mayor and Assembly to take action.

Building more homes in a time of public sector cuts will be a challenge, and even using what we’ve got more efficiently will take a lot of cash. So we will need a range of ideas if we’re …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 24 Comments
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