NHC Releases Budget 2017 On-the-Day Briefing

With the recent publication of the Housing White Paper, the Budget was slim on changes to housing policy. That said, Phillip Hammond’s first – and last – Spring Budget contained significant new commitments including £2bn for social care over the next three years, changes in National Insurance Contributions for the self-employed, and new initiatives on education and skills.

Read the NHC’s full on-the-day briefing here.

The Chancellor’s announcement that Government will press ahead with recommendations made by Lord Sainsbury on T Levels represents a huge change in government policy on education and skills. This, combined with the Government’s drive to increase apprenticeships, represents a new and growing focus.

One of the biggest takeaways from the Budget is that the Government are prioritising White and Green Papers on issues including social care, consumer rights and tax simplification. This would suggest a blockbuster Autumn Budget 2017 for which, naturally, the NHC will be preparing an on-the-day briefing.

NHC Publishes Third Universal Credit Impact Report

Today sees the release of the Northern Housing Consortium’s Impact of Universal Credit Round 3 report. This is the third in a series of four reports and builds upon the results of the first two, covering the period March-July (all three of which can be accessed from the NHC’s website here). The research investigates how the implementation and continuing rollout of Universal Credit is affecting housing organisations in the north.

We are now able to collect trend data and comparisons are made in this latest report with the findings of the previous reports. The latest report also draws comparisons between the full survey results with the returned data from North West respondents to ascertain whether having worked with the Universal Credit system longer has an effect on respondents’ experiences of the system. Some of the key findings from the Round 3 report are:

  • More than one-fifth of respondents said that tenants had terminated their own tenancy as a direct as a direct result of UC.
  • Almost all of the responding organisations are having to step in and assist tenants with the cost of living.
  • Half of organisations have introduced credit reference checks to prospective tenants as a result of UC implementation – double the figure in Round 2.
  • There is a move to debiting tenants’ rent accounts in arrears as 90.6% of those that debit accounts in advance have experienced problems.

We continue to use findings from the research to engage with the Department of Work and Pensions officials through NHC’s roundtable programme to raise members’ concerns and experiences of procedural issues and we will work with DWP to make the new system as smooth as possible.

The final round of the survey will be announced in the NHC eZine but there is also a dedicated contact list for anyone interested in taking part in the project. To ensure you are able to participate, please contact Business Intelligence Officer Barry Turnbull at barry.turnbull@northern-consortium.org.uk.

PRESS RELEASE: NHC Releases On-the-Day Housing White Paper Briefing

The 2017 Housing White Paper

Today saw the publication of the long awaited, much trailed Housing White Paper.  Announced by Sajid Javid, Secretary of State as

ambitious proposals to help fix the housing market so that more ordinary working people from across the country can have the security of a decent place to live

Read the NHC’s full on-the-day White Paper briefing here.

The White Paper acknowledges the scale of the housing crisis facing the country and recognises the fact that governments of all persuasions have not been able to sufficiently ramp up house building to meet with the backlog of under supply and projected future need. The Government’s White Paper aims to change this but the discussions in advance were focused on whether the proposals set out today are the catalyst needed or is the housing industry the proverbial slow turning oil tanker?

The White Paper sets out a series of recommendations addressing common approaches to planning for housing need, barriers in the planning process, support for Local Authorities in speeding up delivery of new homes, and the need to bring new entrants to the market place. Underneath the headlines there is a significant amount of detailed policy proposals that the Northern Housing Consortium welcomes.

The White Paper also rebalances policy focus away from home ownership and acknowledges the need to ensure the rental market is operating efficiently providing good quality secure accommodation for those who choose to rent.

The NHC is pleased that we have this Housing White Paper. It is a mature acknowledgement of the benefits that a shared approach to policy development can bring. We will work with the Government and our members to support this White Paper and work collaboratively to help refine and improve where we believe policy initiatives need further consideration.

The NHC has worked with members and sector experts to deliver the Commission for Housing in the North and we are pleased that the White Paper reinforces messages from the Commission such as consideration of wider tenure issues, the need to ensure quality across the rental sector, and capacity support for local authorities to ensure the right housing is delivered in the right place. The White Paper is not unsurprisingly light on issues around regeneration but we call upon the Government to ensure the Northern Powerhouse Strategy – released alongside the Autumn Statement – picks up this mantle to ensure that housing and regeneration are recognised as tools to support the economic renaissance of the North.

The NHC looks forward to working with members and government on our detailed response to the White Paper and more details on our forthcoming member engagement roundtables are available on our website www.northern-consortium.org.uk


For further information please contact Member Engagement Manager, Callum Smith, on 0191 566 1029 or email callum.smith@northern-consortium.org.uk