About

Council Homes Chat was set up in order to challenge negative reporting in the media & programmes such as; “Benefits Street” & “How to get a Council house”.

We aim to tell a different story by providing a platform for people who want to share positive experiences and opinions. If you feel passionately about a decent home for all and the social housing sector please get I touch:

@Councilhomechat
#CouncilHomesChat

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One thought on “About

  1. paul calland says:

    I am the MD of a medium sized Housing Association ( 6 year old LSVT) and have worked in housing for 40 years (yikes)…Hackney, Gillingham, Basildon, Wrexham, Liverpool and now Towcester. My travels have taught me that local housing circumstances can vary enormously and it is now very evident that one all embracing housing policy for the UK will not work as different areas/regions require different solutions. Nevertheless there is one underpinning truth which does apply across the UK.

    Cheap, good quality, secure rented accommodation is a good thing and very much what the UK desperately needs more of.

    Council housing was a good idea….it gave stability and security…it gave people a chance. It hasn’t stopped being a good idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was never perfect. In a minority of cases it got badly run…sometimes petty politics were allowed to get in the way of common sense and good management. But by and large it did work well.

    We as a country….and the housing sector….kind of lost the plot and for 30 years or more have gone along with a fiscal madness of not building enough new homes, and those we did build we cut the grant. Then to make them more affordable and stack up the maths we relied on ever higher rents (and thus ever higher HB). Even stock transfers were the same….making up for previous lack of investment by borrowing and paying that back through higher rents (thus ever higher HB). The majority of rents of the association where I work are below target rent, yet nearly 50% of tenants have help with their rent with HB. What does this tell us? Well it tells me that even at rents below target, either the rent is too high and/or the tenants’ incomes are too low….so pushing rents up even higher and/or cutting people’s incomes ( laughably known as welfare reform/rebalancing the economy) can do only one thing…increase the HB bill… now a ludicrously wasteful £25 billion a year….MADNESS!

    Now some of us (we haven’t) have gone along with ending lifetime tenancies and the guff about best use of accommodation (bedroom tax). Allocating to the tightest fit has always been flawed thinking (households change but properties are static) and is totally unnecessary (the UK already has some of the smallest housing in Europe). That is not the issue. Having a spare bedroom (most likely a box room) or even two DID NOT CAUSE THE HOUSING CRISIS (or for that matter the banking/debt crisis). Selling over a million council homes (half price or more) and never replacing them DID contribute to the housing crisis. As did not building enough new homes. These two are the killers. It has meant house prices rising ever higher (via booms and busts) and the increase in private renting without security of tenure and at massively higher rents…thus our insane HB bill. Ask yourselves who gains by having a housing shortage? Those who already own! And now ask who stops more homes being built? Yep….those who already own.

    The UK needs many more homes built. It needs a significant proportion of those built to be for truly affordable rent (not by the way the misnomer invented by Mr Shapps…80% of market rent indeed, which most definitely is NOT affordable in most parts of the UK) . It needs grant/subsidy (about £50-60k per unit….more in London) to make those rents affordable.

    This would begin a virtuous circle. Building more homes will create jobs and boost the economy. Lower rents will leave spare cash in pockets which will boost local economies. Eventually lower rents and more affordable homes and more gainful employment will reduce HB. Well housed people will do better at school and be less of a burden on health and social service bills.
    Simplistic stuff you might say…but it works as history shows.

    Why we don’t do it is a mystery (well apart from those who have a vested interest in not solving the problem of course and those who don’t believe we should have social housing at all)….errr….mmm maybe not a mystery after all!

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