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ARCH annual report

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The ARCH annual report for 2015-16 is now available to view.

 

Download it here.

Housing Green Paper – ARCH seeks members’ views 30/08/2018 Labelled as Consultation, Scrutiny, Legislation

The government published the long awaited Social Housing Green Paper on 14 August and the deadline for responses to the issues raised is 6 November 2018.

 

ARCH will be making arrangements to consult ARCH member councils on their views to help inform our response.

 

The ARCH Executive Board will be considering its initial response to the Green Paper at the Board meeting on 10 September and the ARCH Tenant Group is making arrangements to hold a special meeting of the Group in October, in order to feed their views into the response.

 

There will also be an opportunity for tenants to learn more about the Green Paper directly from senior officials at the Housing Ministry, when they speak at the ARCH Tenant Conference on 18 September. 

 

Following publication of the Green Paper, ARCH Chief Executive, John Bibby gave the following initial response:

 

"ARCHwelcomes the general thrust of the Social Housing Green Paper, but we feel the government could and should have gone further in committing resources to substantially increase the supply of social rented housing by recognising the significant role that the provision of new council housing could play in increasing supply.

 

A strengthening of the social housing regulator's role is what most tenants would expect to see, following the Grenfell tragedy and it is right and proper that landlords should account to their tenants for their performance, but we have some concerns that "league tables" may oversimplify matters and not give the full picture and look forward to further dialogue with the Housing Ministry on the performance measures proposed.

 

We very much welcome the decision to abandon the proposed High Value Asset Levy and the forced sale of higher value social housing and think it is right that the introduction of fixed-term tenancies should continue to be a matter for local discretion - these are matters we have been campaigning on for some time.

 

Longer term partnerships and debt guarantees for housing associations are mooted in the Green Paper, but we are disappointed that the government has missed the opportunity to underpin the promise of "a new generation of council housing" by proposing a general raising of housing revenue account debt caps and recommitting to the principles of the HRA self-financing settlement. 

 

We welcome the consultation on greater flexibilities in the use of RTB receipts, which was first announced on 29 March this year, but even with maximum flexibilities it must be recognised that with the huge RTB discounts on offer, most councils will be hard pressed to do any more than deliver one for one replacement of council housing sold under the Right to Buy.

 

We are also surprised and concerned that council housing appears to have been singled out for a potential new stock transfer programme to new "community led" housing associations. If community ownership and management is to form part of the answer then the opportunity should be open to tenants of all social landlords, including private registered providers.

 

Nevertheless the Social Housing Green Paper provides an opportunity for ARCH to make the case for council housing and we look forward to contributing to the debate about the future of social housing and to continuing the dialogue we have established with the Housing Ministry and responding to the Green Paper in due course."

 

We will be writing to the lead officer and elected member in each ARCH member council in September to seek views and comments, to inform a formal response to the Green Paper and would encourage all ARCH member councils to respond.

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