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06/08/2008

It's oh so quiet…

Or at least after last week’s tsunami of housing cases, it is quiet. This is good because I am a) perversely very busy, what with everyone else being on holiday, and b) behind the serene exterior of the blog, there is intense plotting and organising going on, of which much more in a few weeks days.

However my eye was caught by a news story. It appears that the great housing crash of ’08 might have yet another unexpected benefit, as buried towards the bottom of a Guardian story on stamp duty holidays was this little nugget about our own dear housing minister:

The housing minister, Caroline Flint, has also signalled she is willing to take a “totally pragmatic” view on whether councils should be allowed to build homes and keep the rental revenue.

This would be a long overdue Good Thing and at least mitigate one of the great policy disasters of the Thatcher era. Note though, they would only keep the rental revenue from new homes, so not actually putting right the wrong. But local authorities, go on and press your advantage while the government is flailing about over housing.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

8 Comments

  1. J

    Nice to see our housing minister is totally up to speed. This is already possible!

    S.313 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 inserts a new s.80B into the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 which, in effect, will enable local housing authorities to become self-financing. They will “be able to keep the full rents from new council houses and use any surpluses to help pay for new social homes.” (CLG Press Release, New legislation for greener, more affordable housing, 16 November 2007)

    Reply
  2. house

    One presumes the amount of properties lost through right to buy has also fallen.

    Reply
  3. Nearly Legal

    @J: So classical new labour, reannounce an existing measure as a new ‘responsive’ initiative. Has anyone seen a point to Flint yet?

    Reply
  4. J

    But the damage has been done. As at March 2006, there had been 1.7 million RTB sales, with 286,000 (or 16.8%) in London. That is rather a lot of building to do!

    (source – Memorandum by the Department for Communities and Local Government, submitted as written evidence to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, sitting on 5 March 2007)

    Reply
  5. Nearly Legal

    @house: True, but it was tailing off with the reductions in discounts and extended embargo period anyway. Not sure how this bright idea of allowing RTB discounts to be used as private purchase deposits will be funded.

    Reply
  6. J

    @NL: You might think that, as a loyal party member though, I couldn’t possibly comment.

    Reply
  7. house

    @J Yeah I agree damage has been done. I have to keep reminding clients who often have a tendency to say something like ‘there are loads of housing association properties, I see them building all the time’ that in fact the largest HA in my LA has only just made a net gain in properties as so many are lost through RTB.

    I had one client this week who was complaining about the lack of social housing in one breath and then telling me he wanted one so he could buy it in the next.

    Reply
  8. C

    I believe Flint has a rather important role renaming organisations..maybe i’m just cynical though?! I’m sure she works very hard for her salary?

    Reply

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