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

 

Download it here.

RTB: The NHF voluntary deal 16/10/2015

As the previous ARCH bulletin was issued, the deadline for housing associations to show their support to the deal brokered between The NHF (National Housing Federation) and The DCLG (Department of Communities and Local Government) was fast approaching. We now know it's a done deal but what next?

 

We set out the details of the "offer" being put to the NHF members.

 

The NHF vote closed at 5pm on Friday 2 October 2015 and media reports state that of the 584 member housing associations of The NHF, 55% said yes, 6% said no and 39% abstained or did not respond.

 

The call from ARCH and the National Federation of Almos (NFA) to Ministers for consultation with the stock retained sector on the implications of the deal for local authorities fell on deaf ears. And on the back of The NHF vote, PM David Cameron announced the conclusion of the deal at Conservative Party Conference on 7 October  hailing it as "A historic new agreement with housing associations and NHF that will extend RTB to 1.3million more families".

 

It looks likely that the Right to Buy (RTB) for housing association tenants will come in from next year. However at this stage, stock retained councils remain in the dark in regard to how the deal will be funded and what it will cost them, other than the government's intention to fund it by sale of high value council assets remains undimmed.

 

Various questions remain unanswered including the key one of how the deal is to be enforced, particularly for tenants of those associations that voted no to the deal and others who didn't vote.

 

There are also questions about the funding in so far as the deal says arrangements are to be "put in place to manage the financial costs of the policy to ensure that the cost of sales does not exceed the value of receipts received from the sale of high value council assets". 

 

This begs the questions:

 

  • if the receipts do not match the cost of sales will housing associations put RTB applications on hold until they do? 
  • will the government simply insist councils sell more council housing assets to keep pace with the cost of the policy?

 

ARCH will continue to press The DCLG for answers to these and other questions. In the meantime, John Bibby, ARCH CEO, and NFA's Managing Director are arranging to meet NHF Chief Executive, David Orr, to discuss the deal.

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