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Innovation. Influence. Information.
- The Public Accounts Committee has published its report on the New Homes Bonus following the earlier one from the National Audit Office.
- Some £1.3 billion in Bonus has been paid out since April 2011 on which a total of £3.3 billion will be paid out up and until 2017-18 to match the additional council tax raised on new homes for six years.
- The Government claim that the scheme has led to 160,000 homes. However, the National Audit Office concluded that it has so far mainly rewarded home creation that was not incentivised by the Bonus. They also found little evidence that it has increased planning approvals for housing.
- The Public Accounts Committee now believes that an evaluation of scheme to determine whether is changing how local authorities approach the creation of new homes, is now urgent.
- In an unconnected move, the Treasury announced in 2013 Spending Review that £400m of the New Homes bonus will be top-sliced in 2015-16 to fund the creation of a Single Local Growth Fund.
- This briefing with be of interest to elected members, cabinet portfolio holders and officers with responsibilities for housing, regeneration and finance.
This briefing summarises a report produced jointly by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CiH) and the London Borough of Haringey on the impacts of the benefits cap. The report’s publication on 23 October was the cause of some considerable controversy. The benefit cap limits the total amount of welfare benefits any working age household with children can receive at £500 per week, and for childless single households to £350 per week. In August 2013, when the research was carried out, there were 747 capped households in Haringey. The report concludes that measures to help claimants adjust to the cap were introduced effectively in Haringey. Although there is some evidence that the cap has intensified the job search activity of some households, it is concluded that cap is unlikely to meet the objectives of getting more people into work and of reducing the benefits bill. Reduced amounts of benefits payments have to be balanced against the strain on other resources that have accompanied the cap’s introduction. Most disturbing of all are reports that the private rented sector has begun restricting lettings to benefits claimants in response to welfare reforms. This briefing will be of most interest to councillors and members in all types of authority with an interest in social services, welfare, housing, finance, and poverty reduction.
- This briefing takes as its starting point a range of key statistics to review progress made on a number of housing issues including housing supply, homelessness and housing sales.
- There is evidence that the housing market is gaining more confidence with fewer mortgage arrears, and repossessions and increased mortgage lending including to first time buyers.
- However, with house building falling by 14% and with the sector barely building half the housing required to keep up with population growth, while house prices rose by over 4% and new mortgage advances increased by 19%, these are not signs of a well-functioning housing market.
- While progress continues to be made on reducing the number of empty, non-decent homes and overcrowded properties, rates of homelessness continue to increase standing 33% higher from when the Coalition Government came to power.
- This briefing will of interest to all elected members and officers with responsibilities for or an interest in housing, economic development and regeneration.
- The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) took full effect in March 2013 – demonstrating evidence of up-to-date housing need and of effective working to meet the Duty to Cooperate are key challenges in the examination process.
- The new planning system continues to evolve with recent consultations on the National Planning Practice Guidance and Housing Standards Review.
- Energy is emerging as a contentious area with the government publishing fresh guidance on renewable and low carbon energy.
- Achieving more housing growth drives the planning reform agenda – the number of housing approvals is on the rise, although areas of most housing need are not necessarily where new houses are being approved.
- This briefing will be relevant for elected members and planning officers, especially those booked onto the LGiU webinar on 7 November called Getting to Know the New Planning System – Opportunities and Tensions.
This month the LGiU and the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) launched a new report focusing on the relationship between local authorities and the private rented sector (PRS). In this article, Phil Buckle, Director General of the ESC explains why councils play such an important role in promoting better health and safety in the sector.
The LGiU and the Electrical Safety Council have published a new report focusing on the relationship between local government and the private rented sector (PRS) in relation to property conditions in the sector.
House Proud: how councils can raise standards in the private rented sector, builds on evidence from a survey of 178 councils which showed that eight out of ten local authorities expected to take a more proactive stance with the PRS in future. It also draws on case studies illustrating examples of innovative practice, from Newham Council’s borough-wide compulsory licensing scheme, to a landlord-led improvement alliance in Southend.
The report makes a series of recommendations for both central and local government and calls on central government to give councils more freedom to respond to the private rented sector needs of their local communities. It is relevant to Cabinet Members for Housing, officers working with the private rented sector and anyone with an interest in this issue.
The Draft Deregulation Bill is intended to “free thousands of businesses from red tape and make life easier for individuals and civil society”. It introduces some potentially controversial new measures, in addition to repealing legislation introduced by the Labour government as part of its own localism programme, and tidying up duplicated and out of date legislation.
It contains a number of proposals that are important for local authorities. This briefing outlines the main implications for local authorities, other than the training, skills, and education provisions, and will be of general interest to elected members and officers.
The Government’s response the CLG Select Committee’s report on local authority implementation of welfare reform was published on 6 June. Among the items on which the Committee focused and expressed concerns were direct payments to tenants of housing benefit, the transfer of parts of the Social Fund to local authorities, the localisation of Council Tax Support, the ‘bedroom Tax’, and new administrative and financial burdens.
Southwark Council’s Housing Commission Report published last autumn took an in-depth look at the state of the council’s housing stock. Councillor Gavin Edwards, Chair of Southwark’s Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committee explains the difficult choices that lie ahead.
This briefing reviews the work of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee in the current UK parliament. It considers what to expect of a select committee – its role and remit – and what scope it has for influence. Information is provided on recent reports and current inquiries.The briefing is of interest to all concerned with the implementation of localism, and it draws attention to reports and inquiries on planning, housing, welfare reform, regional policy, the mutual and co-operative provision of services, and the role of councillors