or LinkedIn here uk.linkedin.com/pub/tony-smith-bsc-hons-acih/a/979/351/
S&M I am told can be an interesting pass-time, if it's something that all consenting adult parties enjoy. I am reliably told that a 'safe word' is essential, for when the pain really, really needs to stop. A handy way to remember the two meanings of the S & the M, is to think of the abuse coming from Me or Someone else.
#UKhousing has been having a dose of its own abuse recently. A few lashes in the chancellors emergency budget, 1% reduction in rents and some tongue lashing in the Times, to degrade & soften up the 'ill-performing sector' for the humiliation of more RTB2.0 (Right To Buy). We are getting used to watching the bottom line, how to build our budget reviews and line our loyal staff up for voluntary or maybe mandatory redundancy. Dark heavy clouds have descended over some of the most optimistic and forward thinking managers & directors.
After a softening up to threaten nationalisation or reclassification , the housing sector was asked to swallow its pride last week, by its national body, The NHF. I think they shouted something like, "Hey turkeys, can we all vote for Christmas?" or similar.
To me it's got a familiar ring to it, from a government with recent form in this area. It was only a few weekends ago, that someone persuaded the BBC, "Hey turkey, can you stump up £650m for free TV licences?"
Now if the latter one had gone through parliament, like maybe it should have, a clause or two, or the House of Lords may have moderated it. Possibly a means test could have restricted it to all retired people with an annual pension of £10,000 or less. That might have saved the BBC maybe £100m, probably funding four more, internationally acclaimed costume dramas, or 52 weekends of Michael McIntyre annually. Maybe it was lucky they did it to themselves.
We now have a Tory administration who offered extended RTB as a manifesto giveaway promise, expecting not to have to do it in coalition. Having won the election outright, now it's a promise to be delivered. With a resurgent Labour left and actually a slim majority, it might only take 11 Tory rebels, to stop or seriously soften a bill for more RTB giveaways. We could expect the House of Lords to give it a good seeing too as well. Many MPs can see the danger of losing more of our social housing. London pretty much unaffordable to rent in, increasing costs of housing homeless, migrants funnelling in from Syria and other asylum seekers.
If parliament passing a bill for extended RTB sounds like sadism imposed on the social housing sector, the NHF are effectively saying, be masochists and vote now like turkeys for this. Make it easy as it would be a difficult ride through parliament. Once the sector had voted for it, surely it would be spun like, "The sector knew it was failing and that selling off lots of its much needed low rent homes, to boost the PRS still further, was the best commercial thing to do". Pushing up rents is good commercially for the UK and shifts the voting demographic to the political right.
Anyone with experience in the sector knows that previous RTB has never come near to even 10% replacement and that over 40% of homes sold, end up in the PRS anyway. I lived in one for a year, paying four times more than a social rent, in a flat in worse repair than the (still) social rent ones adjacent. How any board can suggest we flagellate and subject our organisations to the pain of more RTB, knowing the wider consequences to society, cost of the future HB bill, failure of replacement etc baffles me.
We need to take our chances with a proper bill (primary legislation in October), through parliament, surely that's the only sensible course of action?
Let something as fundamental as this be discussed in detail, deconstructed and given proper scrutiny. We need to get the message out too. What we do for society, to our staff, their family, friends, MPs, House of lords members, local & national newspapers, other traditional & social media.
The London Evening Standard has already picked up on the effects of more RTB. Read Anthony Hilton's Article here.
It's time we stopped beating ourselves up and refused the offer, from a body that I would hope, should always act in the best interests of social housing, to take on more masochistic pain, administered by our own hand. Already a number of voices have spoken up and a number of RSL's led by Red Kite Housing are using the 'safe word', which on this occasion is 'No'.
Related Post: Should Common Housing Register partners have greater autonomy?
I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - http://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy Message me with any issues or queries, you would like to be explored in this blog. We generally receive a couple of suggestions each month.
The Tubes - Mondo Bondage.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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