Quiz the Rising Stars finalists
06/06/2011 4:15 pm
We’d like your views on which of the Rising Stars finalists shows most promise, but if you are unsure which to back, here is your chance to ask them some questions. The five finalists will be online this week, answering your queries and giving their views. You can see profiles of the five and vote for your favourite here, or find out more about the competition on our Rising Stars page.
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13/06/2011 10:31 pm
The HTML error occurs when the page times out while you are typing into the subject box.
Best thing to do is finish typing and then cut or copy your text, refresh the page and then paste it back in to send.
Works every time for me...even when intoxicated!!!
13/06/2011 9:15 pm
Thanks Carla. I will send them into IH.
13/06/2011 3:26 pm
My one policy to go back and remove would be the Right to Buy without a doubt. Tenants always did have this right but could only exercise it if they could afford a mortgage, fair enough. The huge discounts that were introduced under this Act facilitated a monumental shift of public assets into private individual hands with no policy to replace the stock, let alone keep up with a growing population. It also still today creates tension amongst tenants and leaseholders, particularly where stock investment is concerned.
I agree with your general implied point that you have to know your history to not repeat mistakes. The history of social housing is an interesting one and in the current climate it is even more important that we don't forget our history ... especially if we want to prevent 21st Century 'workhouses' from appearing!
PS - Rishi - I've had problems too - I have to email all my posts to someone at IH who uploads them for me!
13/06/2011 12:19 pm
Other than a quick lesson in what not to do I find it hard to spend time worrying about what got us here. I'd much rather focus on where we're going.
If pushed Heath's 1972 Act has to be the winner (loser?) because of it's domino effect. The increased cost of council housing caused Thatcher's reactionary home-ownership polcies which further distorted the housing market. House and rental prices across the UK soared and it created a lack of affordable housing. Access to housing became harder and harder for people in genuine need who were unable to buy or rent privately. It essentially created the housing benefit trap we now see with generations of families receiveing benefits.
12/06/2011 12:02 pm
Hindsight is a wonderful thing so I have tried to consider those policies that surely should have struck someone as a bad idea at their conception and also have tried to consider some missed opportunities.
The major one for me would not be the Right to Buy policy in itself, I have seen the positives this has brought for individual tenants, but the additional decision to not allow 100% of receipts to come to Local Authorities to reinvest in new build was massively short sighted.
I cant stress enough the damage, taking the ring-fence off the Supporting People budget, has already caused and will go onto cause. It just seems to be a 'cake and eat it' position for ministers to publically defend services for vulnerable people yet allow Local Authorities to spend this fund on whatever is politially expedient (potholes usually). In a two tier authority this is exacerbated when the SP fund for homelessness is given to a body with no statutory duties around this issue.
Concerning homelessness and roughsleeping, I really welcomed the work and intentions that went into the 2012 'No one Left Out' strategy. However, if we are serious about even aspiring to have no roughsleepers by 2012 why don't we bite the bullet and made long term roughsleeping an automatic priority need? I don't think a discretionary policy works in this area as Local Authorities will pick and choose their response.
Finally and concerning the private sector, I would overturn the S21 notice link with mandatory possession. If we still allowed possession to be granted where the tenant has stepped out of line, but not just because the landlord wants the property back, we would see the PRS as a much more viable, long term housing option. I understand Landlords need their properties back if in financial difficulty but you can sell with a tenant in situ and this would also perhaps encourage some much needed caution in the buy to let business.
11/06/2011 8:34 pm
Hi Rising Stars,
This is still Rishi. I have had some issues posting my responses over the last two days...invalid HTML...so have registered as Rish..sorry for letting the side down. Feels good to be taking part again!
11/06/2011 8:29 pm
My opinion is that we should be working with these high earners to seek alternative housing. There is a huge waiting lists for social housing and if customers are able to release accommodation for those that do not have any alternative, then i think this should be encouraged. I am not talking about releasing the properties for customers soley in receipt of benefits. There are people on incomes up to £30,000 who do not have the options that were available 10 years ago. This would still tick the box for mixed communties and economic diversity.
There is the question though that today the £100k earners and then who tomorrow - £90K, £80K, £75K etc as this will only realease 0.1% of the total stock. I don't agree though with taking eviction proceedings as these are timely and costly..there needs to be some alternative housing options made available and then a compromise amicably reached.
11/06/2011 12:03 pm
I would remove the 1957 Rent Act from history because it led to the exploitation and intimidation of tenants by unscrupulous landlords.
Although the Act had the right intentions with the removal of rent controls to increase housing supply and encourage investment in the private rented sector, it actually didn’t do any of that and just enabled landlords like the infamous Peter Rachman to force existing tenants out of their homes in order to re-let properties at higher rents.
10/06/2011 11:49 pm
There are in excess of 5 million social housing homes in England alone; the 6,000 residents earning over £100,000 represent less than 0.1% of social housing customers.
Focusing on these customers doesn’t even come close to the Pareto (20:80) principle. Personally, I commend these 6,000 residents who most probably accessed social housing when they were in need and are now contributing a significant amount to the public purse.
Are they the embodiment of mixed communities? How many people earning £100,000 a year chose to rent in the communities we operate in… at least 6,000! Are we witnessing the beginning of a rental renaissance and adopting a more continental model?
I think we as providers should be offering alternative rental and home ownership models for these high earners to capitalise on their disposable income and offer realistic high spec alternatives. This could include ‘Pent House’ accommodation and an enhanced service which they choose to pay extra for.
10/06/2011 11:27 pm
Calling all Rising Stars...
...the only question which comes to my weary and exploited mind is 'if you could turn back the hands of time (I know I would just to get another chance to drink that limited edition bottle of JD!!!) which housing policy would you remove from history and why?
Remember Rising Stars, the past is a terrible thing to waste....
10/06/2011 11:04 pm
(What’s the name of your pig?)
If I was fortunate enough to be the CIH Rising Star and spend a day shadowing Grant Shapps I would be like a sponge – simply absorbing the experience. Being only 26, the chances are I will still be in the sector long after Grant has left for pastures anew! Consequently, I want to learn how he (and presumably future Housing Ministers) formulates policies and witness how alternatives are considered.
It could be argued that we have yet to get Housing Policy right and I truly believe Grant has passion and conviction in his approach.
The previous Government made drastic improvements to the sector but they also made mistakes, just as the Coalition will – the critical factor is to ensure these only happen once.
The localism agenda presents a platform for innovation and one which will hopefully create more adequate housing and also produce excellent housing for future generations.
The cuts are focusing the minds of providers to do things differently by not only continuing to deliver the same services with a reduced budget, but to deliver better services with less, and public-private partnerships can contribute to this.
The previous Government had a record nine different housing ministers, all I hope is Grant is in position for the full term of the Coalition so that he is the first minister in my career to actually commit to the sector rather than using the post as a platform to boost their political career.
10/06/2011 3:40 pm
Interesting stuff! Carla, I think I'm more in line with the do something approach than do nothing. I think I agree with Chris and Suzanne that we need to at least start on this path so we know the extent of the problem. Also imho £100k is way too high a figure, I would be looking at anyone earning over the average wage for the area.
10/06/2011 3:24 pm
My view is that it’s another diversionary headline. It applies to a tiny minority of people. My guess is that it will disappear as the Govt would have to change the law to evict people on these grounds and they have their hands full on bigger legislative issues. Making best use of stock is a given in the current context of huge demand and little new supply, and landlords will make decisions accordingly (as they do now).
One point I would make is that we should not be so quick to dance to a Govt’s (any Govt's) tune when they are dictating matters of housing management (how is this Localism?) – it is usually for wider political reasons that have little to do with the policy or people involved.
10/06/2011 2:06 pm
Hi Phil, I said in an earlier post that
"I don't shy away from my views on eligibility. If someone can afford to live in private accomodation then I believe we have an obligation to provide a route into the private sector and give our homes to people in genuine need."
The real challenge is diverting our limited resources to identifying those who no longer need our services and creating a bridge into private housing or home-ownership. To make a real difference in a short-space of time we need to let our intentions known as early as possible and start investigating and consulting with these tenants now.
10/06/2011 1:36 pm
Ideally we would be in a situation where social housing was plentiful and could accommodate a range of tenants, some earning a lot, some earning a bit and some not earning at all. However, we are not in that situation and until we are I do consider it frankly bizarre that we aren't doing more to address this when so many people are stuck in unaffordable, poor quality, unsuitable housing.
I do think however that eviction should be a last resort, only when efforts have been made to support the tenant to secure an affordable alternative. Similarly to those tenants under-occupying I have a lot of sympathy with those who have lived in their properties for many years who would then be faced with moving. It is therefore vital that we make a decent offer to encourage tenants to move first but that eviction remains an option if reasonable offers of alternatives are refused.
10/06/2011 12:49 pm
So Stars! Where do you stand on the controversial subject of evicting high earners from social housing?
10/06/2011 12:31 pm
oops - see it now Herr Shapps is referred to as 'him'. Missed the human term being applied to the Minister for Homelessness.
He would, of course, have to sit in the ante-chamber until the important people called him to be instructed. I understand that there is central heating now, so it should be more comfortable.
10/06/2011 11:57 am
Hey Chris, so ok I get the Rastenburg referencce but who have I excluded?
10/06/2011 10:02 am
Good idea Suzanne, and the ideal location for such a meeting would be Rastenburg. I'm sure it would be fitting. Mind you, wouldn't Shapps be insulted if you exclude him in the same way as his master does?
10/06/2011 9:55 am
I'd ask when there will be a working commitee between him, IDS, Cable, Lansley and Gove and Pickles which will formulate an hollistic strategy to address the causes of homelessness, worklessness and low-income and to look at affordable housing options not just at a social housing level but for all.