Category Archives: Press

The Spirit of ’74: Disruptive Citizens…Your Country Needs YOU!

This post is by Stephen Hill, Director- C2O futureplanners

This won’t sound very important; but, before the month is out, we should expect the government quietly to drop their New Garden Cities Prospectus. It’s run out of political time. It won’t win any votes in this parliament. As a housing professional, with some involvement in this initiative, my first reaction was disappointment, but not surprise.

About two hours later, my citizen heart took over. ‘How dare they’, I thought, ‘how dare this government walk away from this, for their own political convenience?’ Garden Cities might or might not be the answer, but this would have been the government’s only serious attempt to find new ways to increase housing supply through large-scale developments. This is a dereliction of duty to meet a national housing crisis. If you don’t understand why, let me try and explain; and its starts with the economy and incomes. Continue reading

The Budget: disastrous housing policy continues

The lack of coherent, affordable housing and land policies since the 1980s is at the heart of the UK’s social and economic woes. As the late Professor Peter Ambrose wrote in 2005:

We argue that there have been failures of vision, collective memory, strategy and regulation that have wasted many billions of taxpayers’ money. The deregulation of financial markets in the 1980s sparked off a flood of house purchase lending that has underpinned massive house price rises and consumed £600 billion of investment that could have found a better use renewing our infrastructure or in research and development to make Britain more competitive in a global market rather than in bolstering house and land prices. The increasing commitment, from 23% to 72% of GDP since 1980, to house purchase loans seems unsustainable; furthermore the increasing flow of demand side subsidies are working to enrich landlords and land vendors, not to stimulate more housing output. The analysis shows that more money has gone into housing but fewer houses have come out. Housing benefits and allowances have imposed a huge and increasing burden on state finances. [1] Continue reading

Human Rights, Housing and Health Inequity

By Stephen Battersby, Chair, Pro-Housing Alliance

In 2001, the late Inez McCormack – the influential human rights activist and first female president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions – brought together a wide range of individuals including social justice and human rights activists, community representatives, academics and lawyers from across the island of Ireland, to begin a discussion around the theme of participation and rights. The resulting cross-border conference of 2002 entitled ‘Participation and the Practice of Rights’ evidenced the need and the desire to harness international human rights tools for use in local struggles for equality. Encouraged to explore this further, the emerging organising groups linked in with an international network of human rights experts and advisers, whilst simultaneously moving the discussion into local communities to explore the value of this work to concrete experiences of exclusion on the ground Continue reading

PHA submission to the Communities and Local Government Committee inquiry into the Private Rented Sector

Memorandum from the Pro Housing Alliance

1.0 Executive Summary

1.1. Housing is a determinant of health, with the exported costs of poor housing are met by the NHS and others. Cold, damp and overcrowded housing makes tackling health inequalities harder

1.2. Amateur landlords who too often are ignorant of the law typify the PRS. In some cases landlords are either wilfully neglectful or plain criminal. Continue reading

New Report: ‘Poor homes, poor health- to heat or to eat? Private sector tenant choices in 2012’

Press Release – Stark choices for private tenants on benefits and increased demands on the NHS

 

“The health of tenants in the private rented sector who are in receipt of housing and other benefits, is

clearly being put further at risk as a consequence of the Government’s welfare reforms and poor conditions within the sector, and this is not just a London issue”, said Dr Stephen Battersby, Chair of the Pro Housing Alliance at the launch of a research report commissioned by the PHA – Poor homes, poor health- to heat or to eat? Private sector tenant choices in 2012.  Continue reading

Private rented sector – good in parts

By Dr Stephen Battersby and Rev Paul Nicolson

The housing market suffers from the lack of ethical foundation in the model of the free market followed by UK governments since the 1980s; hence the richest citizens, particularly landowners, become excessively asset and income rich and the poorest citizens are forced to call on food banks. In an inflated and overvalued housing market home owners have equity that can be used for paying health and care costs but renters do not, which is inequitable and further increases the social gradient in health. Continue reading

House price inflation – 60 Inglorious Years

On Saturday 26 May the Money Guardian included an article on house price inflation over the sixty years since the Queen came to the throne (under the title ‘Worth their weight in diamonds’). It pointed out for example that a terraced house in Chelsea that sold for £4,600 in 1952 is now ‘worth’ £3,500,000. Similar examples were given for other types of property such as a three bedroomed detached in Guildford sold in 1952 for £5,544 and now on the market for £768,000. ‘…in London it’s £16 a day profit over the 60-year period.’ Continue reading