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Morning Briefing: police say no Grenfell charges until at least 2021

Criminal charges over the Grenfell Tower fire will not be brought by police until at least 2021, and other housing news

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Grenfell Tower after the fire in June 2017
Grenfell Tower after the fire in June 2017

Morning Briefing: police say no Grenfell charges until at least 2021 #ukhousing

The Guardian reports that Scotland Yard has now confirmed that it will not hand a file to prosecutors until the end of the public inquiry, which is now not likely to finish until 2021 at the earliest. It means a trial could begin in 2022, five years after the fire that killed 72 people.

The news has provoked frustration among the survivors of the fire, who said they had become “frustrated and disheartened” by the lack of official progress.

Detective Superintendent Matt Bonner, who is leading the investigation into the fire, said that the timelines of the inquiry and the police probe were “inextricably linked”, and it “would be wrong not to take into account the evidence given to the public inquiry and its final report and findings”.

The number of councils to have obtained powers allowing them to fine people for rough sleeping, begging or loitering has increased, writes The Guardian.

Analysis by the paper found that at least 60 councils have now secured public space protection orders forbidding people from putting up tents and seeking charity in town centres. This is up from 54 last year.

The revelations come despite Home Office guidance telling councils not to target homeless people with these orders, which can incur fines between £100 and £1,000.

Councils that use these powers have been accused of attempting to “airbrush” their town centres by human rights charity Liberty, which also said the powers were open to abuse.

The Mirror follows up on a report by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) which has found that the amount of money councils spend on dealing with criminal landlords has dropped by a quarter.

The RLA research found that the amount of money spent on housing standard activities had fallen to £33.5m in 2017/18, down from £44.5m in 2009/10. The group has now called for chancellor Philip Hammond to provide additional funding for enforcement action in his budget this month.

ITV News runs a piece following the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to Blackpool yesterday, when they were shown a number of privately rented properties that had fallen into disrepair.

The couple were shown a dilapidated house that had only recently been occupied by a family but had leaking windows, holes in the ceilings and a number of other issues.

Both royals expressed their shock at the conditions. “There is a sadder side to Blackpool,” Prince William said. He added that “we shouldn’t skirt around these issues”.

L&Q and Countryside’s £1bn Beam Park scheme has crossed its final planning hurdle, according to Construction Enquirer.

Construction of the 29-hectare old Ford Dagenham plant has now edged closer, with the proportion of affordable homes on the site set to hit the 50% mark.

In Scotland, the board of housing association Argyll Community Housing has approved a budget of £15.8m, reports website Scottish Construction Now.

The investment will be broken down between £9.6m capital investment, £3.9m reactive repairs and £1.7m planned maintenance, the website says.

On social media

A rather damning graph shows UK social housing delivery compared with other European countries:

What’s on

It’s the second day of the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Total Housing 2019 conference in Brighton. The event starts at 9.30am at the Hilton Metropole.

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