A new dawn for #ukhousing ?
It can’t have escaped the attention of any #ukhousing professional that last week’s budget announcements dealt a serious blow to the sector.
Not that it was totally unexpected.
Despite the frankly impressive reach of the #homesforbritain rally in March this year, the election pledges that followed seemed to take no real notice of Housing, despite promised to do otherwise. But I do have to agree with some others that the point of the #homesforbritain rally is to give longer term hope – did anyone really think we could influence party policy in the space of a month? Longer term though, we’ve proven that as a sector we can unite together and this gives me hope for the future.
Then there came the election result itself. No-one really expected a clear majority government to win and with the Conservatives getting that result, it instantly meant that one of their pre-election promises, to extend the Right to Buy, would now be a reality. Again, did anyone really expect this to be the only thing the conservatives would bring in to hit the Housing sector?
This all culminated in last weeks’ budget announcement which effectively means that Housing Associations in England were suddenly informed that their business plans needed urgent redrafting due to a 1% decrease in rent charged, year-on-year for the next four years. As Nick Atkin rightly says in his Inside Housing blog ‘we talk really well amongst ourselves, but outside our world what we do and the huge positive impact we have on the lives of our customers just isn’t listened to or understood’. But as a sector, we have rallied around lots of series issues before, we will do so again and I would argue we have started to find our collective voice. It’s now more important than ever that we continue using that collective voice.
As a sector we have talked lots in the past about our use of acronyms and even us Housing professionals struggle to define what ‘affordable housing’ really means to joe public. I would argue that we really do need to sort our own house out before we can tackle the wider world.
So, I for one will be looking to join in wherever possible with debates on the future of #ukhousing and I will continue to support the #homesforbritain campaign (and others like it). What about you?