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Brandon tells it like it is

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:39 PM 678 views

This year’s soon-to-be-forgotten Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, lists his favourite interviewers as Jeremy Paxman on TV and John Humphrys on radio. So that means he is already my polar opposite as I can stand neither of those rather unpleasant, rude, macho egotists. This week ‘Bungalow…

Austerity not so welcome when it hits the rich

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:39 PM 671 views

Labour has run into a little local difficulty with its Mansion Tax proposal. Perhaps the biggest problem is that, although the proposal is very popular amongst the general public, many of the people affected by it have easy access to…

80,000 children in temporary accommodation

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:39 PM 720 views

The homelessness ‘safety net’ suffered another blow last week when Westminster Council decided to prevent homeless households from bidding for social housing for 12 months after the Council accepts it has a duty towards them. The Council plans to discharge…

Waiting lists are becoming political devices

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:38 PM 673 views

It’s a long time since waiting lists did what they say on the tin. But the changes resulting from the latest DCLG guidance mean they will soon be more a barometer of local politics than of housing need. Back in…

Small beer for council housing

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:38 PM 729 views

We haven’t seen the detail yet, but the Chancellor’s announcement on easing council borrowing caps seems to be much more about keeping the Lib Dems happy than about making any significant difference to numbers of affordable homes. The plan is…

Smoke and mirrors

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:38 PM 770 views

Like Budgets and Comprehensive Spending Review announcements, Autumn Statements (AS) tend to spin well on the day – when no-one else has seen the documents or looked at the detail or reworked the figures – but then begin to unravel…

No direction home

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:38 PM 819 views

Boris Johnson today published his second ‘Draft London Housing Strategy’, almost exactly two years after he published his first Draft London Housing Strategy. After five and a half years in power, you would think that he might have got a bit…

Between the Devil and the deep blue sea

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:37 PM 666 views

In a series of top class articles in Inside Housing, Keith Cooper has raised the increasingly tricky issue of cash from council housing being used to prop up other council services as the cuts bite ever deeper. In the latest, Keith poses…

Steady Teddy

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:37 PM 736 views

It was a good week for housing at the Labour Party Conference. There were new commitments on housebuilding, a breakthrough reference to a more assertive land and new settlements policy, and the important – and symbolically vital – promise to…

Is Eric the blot on the landscape?

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:36 PM 704 views

By Sheila Spencer Over the last few weeks, we’ve heard lots of big ideas from Eric Pickles: why local councils should not discourage people from allowing others to park in their drives and the very strange idea of allowing some parking on double yellow…

Stamp out regressive property taxes

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:36 PM 660 views

Normally the Taxpayers’ Alliance website is only worth a visit to raise a smile and to see what people pretending to be on the taxpayers’ side are up to. I say pretend because of course everyone is a taxpayer: those…

The emerging consensus on private renting

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:36 PM 633 views

What goes up may come down.  Only 10 years ago, the growth of home ownership was believed to be inexorable: people would talk of it reaching 90% of households. But without much advance warning, it peaked in 2003 and has fallen from…

More home ownership is progressive

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:35 PM 1,261 views

This post also appeared on Progress Online. Labour has gone big on helping private renters in recent months. And we’re right to. With ever more people forced to rent from private landlords, including 1 million families, we need to improve standards and give…

Rent is the new grant

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:35 PM 588 views

At the CIH Conference last week, Housing Minister Mark Prisk said that the new funding settlement for housing would involve ‘something for something’. To get a small slice of the increasingly tiny Government subsidy for new rented homes, providers will…

Rent chaos

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:35 PM 956 views

If you are lucky enough to become a tenant of a social landlord, what should determine the rent you pay? Should it be a national Government-set formula that takes account of local incomes and property values? Or the cost of…

Vile products

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:34 PM 978 views

After Frederick West was convicted of despicable murders, no-one wrote a headline saying he was the ‘Vile Product of Home Ownership’. After Harold Shipman was convicted of mass murders, no-one wrote a headline saying he was the ‘Vile Product of Full Time Employment’.…

Not just for geeks – why ‘the borrowing rules’ matter

Red Brick / June 29, 2015 at 8:33 PM 1,040 views

What’s this about and what’s the point of all these initials? The main measure of Government debt used in the UK is the PSND (Public Sector Net Debt) which is similar to the more well known PSBR (Public Sector Borrowing Requirement) used in the…