A big ask and no answers

One traditional feature of housing’s annual trip to Harrogate for the Chartered Institute of Housing Conference – apart that is from the disco – is a ministerial speech.  These are often disappointing, over the last 20 years or so most of them have started “I’m new in the job, housing is really important, I have come here to listen and learn.”

This year, as an interesting variation, the Minister listened to a speech instead of delivering one.  And in the middle of her remarks, the estimable chief of the CIH Sarah Webb summed it all up in a simple sentence.  She said to Grant Shapps:

“I’m asking you to resist those small, popularist issues at the extreme ends of the debate and prioritise the really big ones – the demographic time bomb, persistent unaffordability, land supply, the complex role housing plays in our economy; ways to lever in new investment to fund new supply.”

Never one to face up to such fundamentals, Grant Shapps had his own diversionary tactic in place.  This time it was his announcement on transparency: the Ministry of Justice will consult on making housing associations subject to the Freedom of Information Act and he wants all associations to publish all spending over £500.

Now, on the specific issue of FoI, I agree with the government, and I can’t for a moment understand why the sector doesn’t just embrace it and move on.  Instead, his announcement seems to have succeeded in getting the housing association sector hot under the collar on a less than critical matter, which I suspect was the aim.

I bet he had a chuckle that his diversion worked.  It’s certainly a lot easier than addressing Sarah Webb’s little list of really big questions.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A big ask and no answers

  1. Pingback: CIH Harrogate - A personal perspective | EBS - Software

  2. Pingback: CIH Harrogate – A personal perspective « The ReACT Blog

  3. Dan Filson says:

    If FOI applies to one quango (or qualgo, the local equivalent) it should apply to them all. So step up the Royal United Services Institute, Chatham House, Sandhurst, Chequers etc. Or will it be argued these are independent bodies simply receiving government grants?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s