Comment on: Portrait of a lady
Julie, this is an amazing post. Your sympathy, passion and frustration all shine through. Very well written too.
Comment on: Shappsenfreude
There has been an impact on council activity on empty homes. The NHB has raised the profile of empty homes activity within councils, and encouraged empty homes teams to work together with council tax teams to improve information sharing, joint investigations, and street by street visits.
We have had a couple of years of heroic efforts to reduce the number of empty homes on the Council Tax register. But that success will be difficult to sustain, as the numbers have to keep falling year on year in order to maintain the level of income from NHB. That's hard to deliver as there's a level of natural churn in the housing market. We will be running to stand still!
Comment on: Government misjudged impact of £1.3bn scheme
The NAO's criticisms are justified. The problem with the 'nudge' theory on which the NHB incentive is based is that it is only one (relatively small) part of the picture - the environment in which builders are planning new developments and councils' approach to giving planning permission. The NHB can't outweigh all the current economic problems which are so ably discussed in the pages of Inside Housing. The bottom line is that house building is lower than before, and many of the homes against which the NHB has been paid were started prior to its commencement. Its actual impact on new house building has been - a big fat zero. So the DCLG's predictions are a fantasy concocted in an ivory tower to pander to political illusions and bluster!
Comment on: Birmingham Council tops empty homes table
Birmingham and Manchester top the table because:
1 - they are the biggest local authorities in the country - there are more houses within their area
2 - the total probably includes homes that were previously empty pending refurbishment / redevelopment. Big regeneration projects trump individual empty homes brought back into use.
Changes in the property market could also have an effect although this is unlikely over the period in question (2010-2011).
The figures are now taken from Council Tax records of properties empty for 6 months or more - regardless of the reason for being empty, or council action to bring them back into use. They also cover all tenures including social housing, so big regeneration projects can skew the figures massively. However in general the figures are much more reliable than they used to be.
I think the Minister's statement that this proves the worth of the New Homes Bonus is rather sadly mistaken. What savvy councils have been doing is data cleansing their lists of empty properties and improving their record keeping - no bad thing, and can uncover properties that look inhabited but are actually empty, and brings in much needed council tax revenue. However very few councils have used NHB revenue to support empty homes action - we need to keep making the case for this.
By the way, Birmingham's New Homes Bonus for empty properties in 2012-13 was over £2m - where did Inside Housing get the figure of £319k from??
All the data's available at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/2225005
Comment on: Homelessness up by 18 per cent
So Shapps today announced the number of homeless households as "at historically low levels". He was talking about exactly the same figures as in this article. How on earth did he spin that?
DCLG press release - http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/1918930
Kirsten Firth has not added any discussions yet.
Kirsten Firth has not added any posts yet.