Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Government attacked over views on housing

The president of the Chartered Institute of Housing has criticised ministers for ‘pointed and inaccurate’ comments regarding the state of the housing market.

Robin Lawler, CIH president and chief executive of arm’s-length management organisation Northwards Housing, hit out at government politicians at the CIH presidential dinner in London last night.

Mr Lawler said: ‘Several times already this year we have heard pointed and inaccurate comments from ministers, including the prime minister, regarding the state of the housing market and the likely impact of their package of reforms.’

David Cameron has been criticised in recent weeks for telling parliament that private sector rents have decreased as a result of welfare reforms – a claim disputed by the CIH and the National Landlords Association.

Mr Lawler earlier described the coalition’s welfare reforms as ‘the biggest challenge facing the sector’.

He said: ‘Throughout my whole housing career I don’t remember a time when it has been so important for the sector to work together to challenge some of the key assumptions, often misplaced assumptions, about who benefits from welfare, who should benefit and just what the role of the state should be in supporting and helping those most in need.’

Mr Lawler also said the CIH will introduce an annual Sarah Webb Lecture in honour of Ms Webb, the institute’s former chief executive who died last September.

The CIH dinner, which was held at the National History Museum in London, also saw the presentation of the first Nicky Chapman Award under the Positive Action for Disability scheme. This was received by Debbie Smith, who is now an employee at New Charter Housing Trust.

The award was set up in memory of Habinteg chair and tenant Nicky Chapman, and recognises disabled people who are doing excellent work in housing.

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