Saturday, 19 April 2014

North west gets smallest rise in social housing cash

Critics say system is weighted in favour of London and the south

The north west is facing the toughest settlement in social housing funding of all English regions, figures released by the government have revealed.

Its pot for affordable housing for 2007/11 has increased the least of the nine regions - by only 16 per cent compared with the previous three years, according to government figures.

The east midlands had the second smallest increase, at 18 per cent, while the south west received the biggest hike of 50 per cent.

Peter Hart, regional housing manager for the north west regional assembly, said he was disappointed with what he described as a 'hard settlement'.

Mr Hart disputed the government's 16 per cent figure, saying that the assembly's own calculations put it at just 12 per cent. 'Nationally, we welcome the increases in resources. The problem is in previous [comprehensive spending review] funding allocations we had a freeze when other regions saw increases in their revenue. So to get the lowest increase is difficult to handle.'

Ian Perry, chief executive of Harvest Housing, said the north had not made its case clear enough.

Harvest had been 'gearing up' for growth, he added. 'We were planning to build lots more homes over the next three years because we'd expected the increase in overall allocation would be more equal.'

George Davies, chair of the north west housing forum, said that the way government worked out allocations was weighted in favour of London and the south.

'If this region is to compete effectively on economic terms with the rest of the country it needs a good housing offer,' he said. 'Failure to invest in housing in the north west will inevitably impact on our plans for economic growth.'

Steve Jennings, chief executive of Weaver Vale Housing Trust and chair of the Cheshire Housing Alliance, said his county was being overlooked. 'Cheshire is categorised by high land values and is suffering an affordability crisis similar to that of the south,' he said. 'The increase of 16 per cent is the lowest in the country and doesn't adequately reflect the very real affordability problems we're experiencing.'



  • Barking development dealt blow by Osborne


    An 11,000-home east London development has been left ‘unviable’ after it was not allocated any of a £1 billion infrastructure fund announced by George Osborne last week.

  • Social landlords given a chunk of second RHPP pot announced

    24 October 2013

    Social landlords across Great Britain have been awarded a share of an additional £5 million pot to kit out homes with renewable heating equipment, it was announced today.

  • Cosmopolitan: the true story


    The financial crisis which hit Cosmopolitan in 2012 and brought the housing association to its knees changed the social housing sector forever. Carl Brown reveals for the first time exactly how it happened and the lessons learned

  • FOI reveals effects of bedroom tax in Wales

    13 August 2013

    More than half of Welsh councils received more requests for additional housing payments in the first two months of the bedroom tax than for the same period last year.

  • Plus Dane downgraded over 'weak' financial management

    28 August 2013

    A Liverpool-based housing association has had its governance rating downgraded due to ‘weak’ financial and risk management.


  • No right to shut the door


    All homeless 16 and 17-year-olds should be dealt with by social services departments, says John Gallagher, principal solicitor at Shelter

  • Global reach


    Off on holiday this summer? Perhaps you’d prefer to spend a longer stint abroad? Here, Caroline Thorpe speaks to housing professionals based overseas about how their UK experience has gone down among employers on the other side of the world

  • A key to regeneration


    Post self-financing reform, stock transfer offers many benefits for councils, says Rob Beiley

  • Behind closed doors


    New ‘pre-termination negotiations’ offer a useful way to handle tricky employment situations

  • The art of compromise


    Compromise agreements can be an effective way to avoid legal disputes at work, says Lynda Spiby, head of employment at Boote Edgar Esterkin