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PlaceShapers review strategies in the light of the Election result

PlaceShapers, the network of over 100 community-based housing associations, reacted quickly to last night's shock Election result.

Chair Tony Stacey said: “Our members pride themselves on working with tenants, central and local government and other partners to offer solutions that work in their communities. The Conservatives have pledged to solve the housing crisis and whilst we have already questioned the potential impact that some of their proposals would make to this commitment, we look forward to early discussions with the new Government on how we can continue to contribute to this goal.

“Nevertheless, most of our members will now be undertaking a fundamental rethink of their Strategies and Business Plans. Whilst the details of proposed changes will require primary legislation and are therefore unclear, the Government's declared wish to extend the Right to Buy to charitable housing associations will shoot to the top of many of our members' risk maps and require a reappraisal of asset management strategies.

"Many of our members are already actively churning properties in order to free up cash and security for new building in line with the Government’s own views on this. However, members will want to rethink whether selling existing stock is still the right thing to do given the potential threat of the RTB.

"Members will also want to quickly reappraise their Development programmes. Placeshapers agrees with the view that extending the RTB to housing association tenants makes no economic sense in the face of an accepted major UK housing crisis which points to the requirement for more not less social housing. Working with the NHF, the HCA and others, we will be seeking views of lenders and the charity commission on how best to respond as the detail of proposals emerges.

“Additionally, our members need clarity over where the suggested further £12bn cuts to welfare support will fall. We are already concerned that proposals to further reduce the benefit cap could mean lettings to some families on benefits are no longer be sustainable and will want to do all we can to support families and businesses to manage their budgets. 

"In other respects it will be 'business as usual' for PlaceShapers. The Devolution agenda and the growth of the City Regions will, continue. PlaceShapers are playing leading roles in many parts of the country. Similarly, the integration of health, social care and housing is unlikely to lose steam and this is another area where PlaceShapers locally are making significant inroads in designing system change."

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