What happens after (un)affordable rents?

The Housing Minister has challenged Alison Seabeck to say if a future Labour government would retain the affordable rent regime.

That’s a bit of a cheek. No one can retain the affordable rent regime after this programme ends in 2015. The system that Grant Shapps has created is one with a very limited shelf-life and is a destructive programme for the future of affordable housing after 2015.

The whole regime rests on Housing Associations taking on huge amounts of borrowing. Many are reporting that their capacity to borrow money will be exhausted by 2015. Some housing associations have said that they will have to borrow almost as much to finance this coming programme than they have borrowed over decades. As a result banks are eyeing housing associations warily and their ability to borrow cheaply is likely to come to an end – further reducing their ability to continue building new homes.

Any government will find a position in 2015 where our major providers of affordable homes will be lumbered with so much debt that they will struggle to borrow the money they need to carry on building, however high rents go. And frankly, they can’t go much higher.

Don’t be drawn on this question Alison – it’s one Grant Shapps must answer.

And, since this is a programme Mr Shapps created, surely he has a long-term strategy for what would happen after 2015? I look forward to hearing his answer.

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2 Responses to What happens after (un)affordable rents?

  1. DaftAida says:

    We live in double-think, quack-speak times. Affordable Housing? Translate to publically-funded housing guardians, raising rents to unaffordable levels for those it was intented to accommodate. What is actually meant by ‘affordable’ does not apply to tenants, but to the profitability of property construction/management in increasing the bottom line. Seen in this context, it makes perfect sense for councils/HAs to max existing stock via rent increases. Newbuilds attract renters and leaseholders paying around 4 x the monthly rental of current/traditional tenancies; this under the guise of ‘affordable’ compared with private sector rates. Add to this ‘starter’ tenancies, compulsory downsizing, Legal Aid cuts and the term Less is More can be applied; less security, less space, more rent revenues. Another cookie is Localism; read centralism locally – upfront and personal where tenants can be evicted on a whim (usually poverty) ….. return of the workhouses?

    The balance of power is noticeably shifting away from the public, tenants and previous security of tenure towards unscrupulous landlords profiteering through extortion and fraud. The public have paid for services and the servants wages to deliver such; these servants are parading as ‘masters’ or authorities, over which the public have no control, no say and no imput.

    I hear distant footsteps of the returning Rackmans …….

    The United Nations mandate, Agenda for the 21st Century – Agenda 21 is part of every council’s directive. Part of this insidious document is the clearing of rural and coastal regions of human habitation. This necessitates both the need to maximise occupation of existing property and new build boxes within the city regions to accommodate the influx. Horrible levels of overcrowding are forecast, together with accompanying violent crime and disease. In light of Agenda 21, the downsizing and HB caps make sense in achieving that ghastly objective.

    We are hurtling backwards and downwards; backwards to pre-1950s era of poverty and overcrowding; downwards to base survival level mentality and activity. This situation made all the worse through ‘failed’ multiculturism; people don’t understand eachother’s language or culture and there is a fundamental schism which will become more visible under these conditions of induced competition for basic resources.

    There are always solutions but rarely those with the will to apply them.

  2. Jenny says:

    Though given most HAs seem to have only got around half of the allocations they bid for there is now a chance the sector could squeeze out their capacity for another round of affordable rent. Probably depends how much they choose to develop outside the HCA programme. Either way think you are right it is for Shapps to reveal how he intends to progress this after 2015.

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