Last edited 14 Aug 2018

A new deal for social housing

Socialhousinggreenpaper.jpg

In August 2018, the government published a new green paper ‘A new deal for social housing’. The aim of the paper is to rebalance the relationship between landlords and residents, and to launch a consultation allowing the submission of views on the future of social housing.

The green paper sets out the following core themes:

  • Tackling stigma and celebrating thriving communities.
  • Expanding supply and supporting home ownership.
  • Effective resolution of complaints.
  • Empowering residents and strengthening the regulator.
  • Ensuring homes are safe and decent.

Building on the new borrowing capacity granted to local authorities, the paper sets out plans to ‘explore new flexibilities’ for how authorities can spend revenue from housing that is sold off under Right to Buy. In addition, the paper proposes that the supply of new affordable homes will be boosted by building on partnerships with housing associations and providing funding certainty over a longer period.

The paper also recommends the introduction of new performance indicators and league tables of housing providers to ‘rebalance the landlord/tenant relationship to hold bad practice to account’, in an effort at empowering social housing tenants to take on rogue landlords.

Another pledge is to offer all social housing tenants a ‘springboard’ into ownership, with new shared ownership schemes allowing residents to purchase as little as 1% of their homes each year.

Secretary of State for Communities, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, said:

“Providing quality and fair social housing is a priority for this government. Our green paper offers a landmark opportunity for major reform to improve fairness, quality and safety to residents living in social housing across the country.

“Regardless of whether you own your home or rent in the social sector, residents deserve security, dignity and the opportunities to build a better life.”

The green paper drew some criticism from housing campaigners such as Shelter and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation who claimed that the reforms would prove ineffective without providing council housebuilding with substantial new funding.

Shelter’s chief executive, Polly Neate, said the green paper was “full of warm words but doesn’t commit a single extra penny towards building the social homes needed by the 1.2 million people on the waiting list.”

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation (NHF) said:

“Without significant new investment in the building of more social housing, it is very hard to see how it can be a safety net and springboard for all the people who desperately need it. Our ambition for the Green Paper is that it sets a course for a future where everyone can access a quality home they can afford. To do that we need to build 90,000 new social rent homes every year.”

Labour’s shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey, called the proposals “pitiful” and said “the number of new social rented homes is at a record low but there is no new money to increase supply and ministers are still preventing local authorities run by all parties from building the council homes their communities need.”

The consultation will run until 6 November 2018.

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