Or the good, the bad and the ugly from the Housing minister and the Communities and Local Government secretary.
Grant Shapps, housing minister has been setting out some plans, or perhaps aspirations. Mostly, these seem to involve encouraging people to buy houses. And encouraging mortgage lenders to lend more to people to buy houses. Via an unspecified “structural change” in how supply meets demand. Sounds like a plan, and one we haven’t seen before…
On rented accommodation, Mr Shapps confirmed that the national landlord register mooted under the last government will be scrapped. The rest of the Rugg review recommendations and being considered – more to come shortly, but apparently they plan to ‘penalise rogue landlords but not by penalising everybody’. It is a fair bet that the mumsnet for tenants is out the window.
Government support for shared ownership schemes has ‘run out of cash’ and will end.
Meanwhile, on the plus side, the consultation on the Housing Revenue Account system continues, with Mr Shapps describing the current position as ‘unfair’ and looking at devolved powers to councils with greater financial freedom on their housing funding. We shall see.
And for the ugly, we turn to Eric Pickles at the DCLG and the emerging policy on gypsies and travellers. Not content with scrapping the Housing and Communities Agency funding that was in place for developing new sites and refurbishing old ones (and some really, really need refurbishment) and persisting with the Conservative plan to criminalise trespass, Eric Pickles has announced that he intends to “scrap new rules giving Gypsies and Travellers a “level playing field” in planning disputes with local authorities”. And then the regional planning schemes, which encouraged/required local authorities to find or build permanent sites are also to be scrapped. These are going to be difficult times for gypsies and travellers, with apparently not a peep from the Lib-Dems.