Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A fairer future for social housing?

black square sun hype?Really eclipsed through layers of social housing blocks The Government has published proposals for far reaching reforms to social housing tenure, allocations and homelessness in a new consultation paper 'Local decisions: a fairer future for social housing'. The document also includes measures to improve mobility, tackle overcrowding and under-occupation.

The consultation time has been reduced to 8 weeks, ending on 17 January 2011, to allow for a draft Direction on a new Tenancy Standard to be considered alongside the
Localism Bill.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps and Communities Minister Andrew Stunell say this is the most radical reform of social housing in a generation, with a fundamental shift of power from Whitehall to councils and local housing associations, by:
  • making the system fairer, striking a proper balance between the needs of new and existing tenants.
  • ensuring that the support which social housing provides is focused on those who need it most for as long as they need it.
  • giving local authorities and housing associations new powers so that they can make best use of their housing, in a way which best meets the needs of individual households and their local area.
As many of these reforms require new legislation they will be included the forthcoming Localism Bill. The Bill, which was expected to be published this week, has been delayed by two weeks with conflicting reports about whether this is due to parliamentary congestion or last minute Whitehall disputes.

The CIH has pledged to work with the government to shape social housing reforms to ensure that they are sustainable in the long term and do not penalise low income and vulnerable households. It has produced an extensive briefing on the proposals and its position on the measures porposed.

Commenting on the Government's proposals to reform social housing, National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr said: 'What the Government is proposing is a fundamental change to the way social housing is delivered and managed."

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