Posted in: Shapps Speaks - but then what?
The Telegraph - 22 November 2010
Ministers to extend 'right-to-buy' policy
A new era of “right-to-buy” will be heralded by ministers today as part of a fundamental shake-up of Government housing policy.
Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister said last night: “You will acquire the right to buy at a discount from housing associations. The present system is too muddled."
Still nothing from the Minister, even though his favoured housing association is asking him to clarify this point also - bearing in mind it is normally impossible to shut this Minister up his 13 months of silence does seem a little odd. Odder still is that the opposition and media seem happy to leave the Minister unchallenged over the right-to-buy issue.
Why the silence on all sides?
Posted in: Announcing - nothing
Colleagues are reporting that enquiries about how to access the new government right to buy scheme are still coming in every day, and resulting in disappointment after disappointment.
Is there anyway to communicate to the Housing Minister that he needs to announce the truth about his non-announcement so that housing staff are not wasting even more time clearing up over his lack of clarity and detail - or at least announce a date when he will announce what it is his announcement was about.
Apologies for an earlier factual error in my earlier posts, stating the standing charge as nearly £130, when is is closer to £80 (I was looking at the wrong column in the communal power sheet I referenced).
You need to add the electricity used to this £80 (the quarterly charge I have noted is £22.76, but there may be provider variance), allowing for VAT also, you are close to £90, and then divide by 2 to get your comparison. That would mean you would be paying around £45 where as currently you are paying £73 including the heating.
However, if you consider just the heating saving, and do not have the second meter (assuming the other corridor uses the same electricity as yours for lighting and cleaning) then the total cost will be the standing charge plus two lots of the power you calculated (lets say £20 to be generous) and VAT (negligable, lets say it is within the rounded £20). So that would be a total bill of £100 between five of you. At £20 you would be saving far more by keeping the single meter.
Doubling the meter cost on such a low electricity use will not do you a favour.
That the meter is already in your bit will not prevent the cost being shared across the 5 of you.
It sounds like the heater issue is already being looked into. If it is removed you may want the landlord to check that ventilation to the areas is adequate to continue the air circulation through the area, and that damp precautions are in place.
Arguing what should have been, in this instance, is not going to help bring a resolution for you more than already seems in train. However, do keep in mind the additional standing charge of the two meter solution. Currently about a third of you shared bill is standing charge - splitting the meter would mean that you would be paying nearly £130 shared between the two of you instead of between five. If the main electrical use of the heater is removed then you will be paying £130 plus usage for a light bulb and plug socket!
Assuming that the heater is taken away. Would you accept the removal of the carpet so the corridor only needs to be washed not vacuumed (so the plug socket can be removed) and for the light bulb to be added to your own flat electricity with a notional (@ £15) per annum service charge credit as compensation? This would allow for the meter to be removed, and so save you the largest single item, the standing charge, as well. You can not force the landlord to do this, but they may consider it if asked.
You can ask for the meters to be separated, but do remember that you will then double the standing charge as there will be two meters instead of one. You will also have to fund the cost of the installation.
As the electrical usage is so low the saving you may make from the separated meter will be offset by the cost of the extra standing charge (you would individually be paying in the region of £65 for that alone). If you are paying 1/5 of £366 currently then already you will be losing once power is charged for.
What may be better is to ask for the removal of the heaters if they are not needed. If they are needed, for instance to ensure the fabric of the property does not get undermined with damp, then you should start to use yours too. But perhaps they can be adjust to simply ensure a frost free temperature is maintained in the hallways.
It may on the face of it seem unfair, especially as you are in the 'smaller' communal area and are sharing with a separate lareger one. However, a leaseholder valuation tribunal would be concerned with the reasonability of the charging arrangement. That said, you may have recourse to the LVT as a final option if any of you are leaseholders.
That's a novel way of looking at things Sancho - whenever I've seen the RSL budget report the bottom line is either balanced or in surplus (with the occassional use of reserves to achieve balance).
Yes there is cross subsidy - that is why Group Structures became the norm and the specialists were squeezed by the financial arrangements.
If what you described was true no RSL would have had green lights at all.
I was going to leave it at that, but you've raised another area that could do with clarity - artificially supressed rents?
The rents currently charged cover all the costs associated with the homes, and even generate a surplus - used for housing plus activities by RSLs and kept by the Treasury regarding LAs. How are the rents therefore supressed, and what else do you think the rents should then be paying for? Where do you see subsidy entering into the equation when there is none in the sense of artificially lowering the rent?
Hi Sancho - does that mean that it is not subsidy, if it has to be paid back, but purely the government enabling housing to be built that otherwise would not have been built, and in return the government gains some control over the rent level and/or use of the home it enabled?
Posted in: Homeless
I'd like to see them all turn up on mass in the gardens at Welwyn Garden City - right in the centre of town, and await the Housing Minister's response to your excellent question Susan.
The government has made an 'improvement' by extending your clients' experience to those under 35 rather than simply 25.
Part of the problem is that the public at large are happy to pretend that this by-product of their own 'security' is invisible - the answer then surely is to get in their faces until the clamour for justice become irresistable.
Let's face it, if those of your clients who would rather give up and go to jail to get a roof over their heads are serious then they may as well go down making a difference rather than conforming to the stereotype the likes of Shapps needs as an excuse to justify his own failure.
Posted in: PV monitoring for residents?
First thought - ask the installers who are most likely to have the answer most compatible to the systems.
Second thought, will the residents be happy with a posting on your website / scheme notice board / newsletter detailing the information given to you by the power company about level of supply generated.