Over 160 leaders from across UK housing and government joined together to discuss and debate the housing crisis.
14 November 2018 more...
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PlaceShapers chair Sinead Butters gave evidence to the Housing and Planning Public Bill Committee. The Housing and Planning Bill had its Second Reading in the House of Commons on Monday 2 November. The Housing and Planning Public Bill Committee invited Sinead to give oral evidence to the Committee in Westminster on Tuesday 10 November 2015.
Some of the key points she covered included significant concerns about erosion of social rented housing and uncertainty around where the poor would be housed in the future.
In response to questions, Sinead said that Pay to Stay was a blunt instrument that could be disincentive to work or gain promotion. She stressed that housing associations need flexibility to set appropriate rents working with boards and local authority partners.
She welcomed initiatives to increase home ownership and told the committee that home ownership is not an 'or' for housing associations; it's an 'and'.
Sinead used the Placeshapers conference to ask members for any additional insight. Ahead of this, PlaceShapers supplied the following statement. "PlaceShapers welcomes new legislation that will support the urgent need for more homes to solve the country's housing crisis. However, any housebuilding programme cannot be at the expense of the need for social housing for those on very low and variable incomes where home-ownership is not a reality in any circumstance.
"We hope that the final Bill will reflect this understanding so that we can continue to work with our local partners and Government to deliver rounded solutions to identified housing needs. We welcome all reforms to the planning process that may increase planning certainty and speed up decision making and hope that the Bill will retain the flexibility for LAs to plan for meeting varied needs locally. This includes flexibility to ensure that the Starter Home initiative is in addition to and not at the expense of homes for genuinely affordable rent and shared ownership.
"We are in business to support our communities and this includes helping people realise their aspirations, including that of home-ownership where possible. The "Voluntary Right to Buy" will achieve this for some but we need reassurance that the flexible nature of the promised settlement will ensure that stock that will be the most difficult to replace can be protected and that we will be fully compensated for the discounts on any sales. On this point we also hope that an alternative way of resourcing RTB discounts for housing association tenants can be found that does not involve the sale of council homes so that our LA partners are able to continue to provide for housing need alongside us.
"Finally, we welcome the Government's commitment to less rather than more control of housing associations and its desire to protect our independent status as voluntary sector housing and support providers. In this context we believe that we need more rather than less flexibility over rent setting and that the "Pay to Stay" proposals to require rent increases for higher earners is counter to this commitment. We also think that the proposal itself is flawed and that, if introduced as proposed, it will be unworkable and will unfairly penalise hard-working families who are trying to make work pay."