Tory government flouting human rights over Grenfell-style cladding

From The Observer: The Tory government is breaching fundamental obligations to protect its citizens’ right to life by failing to address the systemic problems that led to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the UK’s human rights watchdog has warned.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has written to the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government (DHCLG) outlining its concerns about the continued use of combustible cladding in existing buildings and advising the department of its responsibilities under human rights laws to protect lives.

The watchdog has yet to receive a response from the department, which in June launched a consultation into the use of cladding, believed to be a key factor in the Grenfell disaster.

The commission said it was concerned that the consultation omits any reference to the government’s duty to protect lives under article 2 of the European convention on human rights and schedule 1 to the Human Rights Act 1998.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

May’s £2bn housing pledge not enough, say Tory council leaders

From The Guardian: Theresa May is facing pressure from Conservative council leaders to invest more in low-cost rented homes, amid growing concern at local authority level that not enough is being done to fix Britain’s housing crisis.

The prime minister promised £2bn last year for a new generation of council houses and affordable homes for rent, but 71% of senior councillors from her party told a poll by Survation they were worried this would not be enough to meet the needs of their constituents.

Another report has found that parents are likely to be lending less money to help their children on to the property ladder this year, owing to constrained household budgets since the EU referendum.

Independent analysis suggests current construction of affordable housing falls short of the requirements by about 30,000 homes per year. Joseph Rowntree said it was calling on the government to deliver at least 80,000 low-cost rented homes a year in order to make the housing market work for more people.

Campbell Robb, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Homelessness and poverty should have no place in our society. However, right now millions of people are locked out of being able to achieve a decent standard of living due to crippling rents.”

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

These statistics show the true cost of the Tory housing crisis for young people

From Left Foot Forward: Figures on the state of the home ownership market in England, published by the Office of National Statistics, reveal rapidly worsening affordability problems, putting buying a home beyond most young people.

The affordability ratio calculated by ONS shows that the average house price was 7.9 times average annual earnings in 2017 – the largest ever recorded and more than double that of 1997.

To achieve levels of affordability last seen two decades ago – the average house price in 1997 being 3.5 times average earnings – would require that today’s average earnings would need to double to almost £66,000 annually.

Put another way, average earnings would have to increase by around 3% every year for the next four decades, while the average house price stayed constant at today’s level, for 1997 levels of affordability to be reached once more.

[Read full article on Left Foot Forward…]

Labour-run councils have built more homes than Tory-run councils

From Morning Star: Labour-run councils are outbuilding their Tory counterparts by an average of more than 1,300 new homes each since the Tories took power in 2010, new research released by Labour revealed yesterday.

On average, 2,464 new homes were started in Conservative-led council areas between 2010 and 2017.

But the House of Commons Library analysis found that Labour councils started building 3,791 homes on average — 54 per cent more than Conservative councils.

The figures also show that, despite swingeing Tory cuts in the name of austerity and heavy-handed restrictions, Labour councils built an average of 93 council homes, almost five times as many as Conservative-run councils.

[Read full article on Morning Star website…]

 

A mother given 50p a week for housing: the benefit cap one year on

The head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Housing writes in the Guardian: “A year on from the introduction of the lower benefit cap, its abiding legacy is to push people closer to homelessness.

“The cap, introduced on 7 November 2016, reduced the total amount any family can receive in benefits from £26,000 to £23,000 in London and £20,000 outside the capital, leaving families with significant shortfalls between the benefits they get and the cost of their housing.

“In our most recent research we spoke to 18 families with capped benefit across the UK and each time we heard a familiar story – one of stress, struggle and a daily fight to remain in their home.

“Half of those families said they had gone without food, fuel or were otherwise in debt as a result of the cut. Among a raft of other hardships a third said they had been forced to use food banks.”

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The Guardian view on homelessness – do ministers care?

Editorial comment in the Guardian: “The National Audit Office report into homelessness lays bare the legacy of human waste caused by the callous indifference and intellectual vacuity of Compassionate Conservatism, a Tory creed – promoted by David Cameron – where responsibility shifted from the state to individuals, families and communities. Read more

Third of private rented homes fail basic health and safety standards, new analysis finds

From The Independent: The extent of the crisis facing Britain’s private renters is revealed today as new analysis shows millions of tenants are living in homes that contain dangerous safety hazards and have been deemed unfit for habitation under Government standards. 29% of homes rented from private landlords fail to meet the national Decent Homes Standard.

[Read full article on the Independent website…]

Tory member of London Assembly: Overseas investors buying up blocks of new homes benefits us all

Channel 4 News video: Watch Tory member of the London Assembly for West Central, Tony Devenish, literally claim that new blocks of housing being bought up en masse by overseas billionaire investors benefits us all, and that there’s no alternative.

'New homes are not for Londoners or affordable'

“We are building lots of homes but who are they for? They’re for billionaire investors, they’re not for Londoners.”Author Anna Minton argues that new homes in London are not affordable.

Posted by Channel 4 News on Tuesday, August 1, 2017

100 tenants a day lose homes as rising rents and benefit freeze hit

From The Guardian: A record number of renters are being evicted from their homes, with more than 100 tenants a day losing the roof over their head, according to a shocking analysis of the nation’s housing crisis. The spiralling costs of renting a property and a long-running freeze to housing benefit are being blamed for the rising number of evictions among Britain’s growing army of tenants.

More than 40,000 tenants in England were evicted in 2015, according to a study by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). It is an increase of a third since 2003 and the highest level recorded. The research appears to confirm fears that a mixture of rising costs and falling state support would lead to a rise in people being forced out of their homes. It will raise concerns that even those in work are struggling to pay their rent.

High numbers of “no-fault” evictions by private landlords is driving the increase. More than 80% of the extra evictions had occurred under a Section 21 notice, which gives a tenant two months to leave. The landlord does not have to give a reason and there does not need to be any wrongdoing on the part of the tenant.

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One in seven UK private tenants pays more than half income in rent – study

From The Guardian: One in seven tenants privately renting from a landlord is paying more than half of their income in rent, compared with just 2% of homeowners who pay more than half their income on their mortgage, according to new research.

The Local Government Association, which compiled the figures, said high rents were preventing young adults from saving up for a deposit for a home of their own. It said the average deposit now cost 71% of a first-time buyer’s annual income.

The research also found that four out of 10 private tenants spend more than 30% of their pay on rent, compared with only 11% of those with a mortgage.

Councillor Judith Blake, LGA housing spokesman, said: “When one in seven private renters is spending half their income on rent, it’s no wonder we have a rental logjam – with a shortage of homes with genuinely affordable rent, and young people struggling to have enough income left over to save for a deposit

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Number of government-funded social homes falls by 97% since Conservatives took office

From The Independent: The number of new government-funded houses built for social rent each year has plummeted by 97 per cent since the Conservatives took office in 2010, official statistics have shown. In the same period the total number of affordable homes built with government money more than halved – from 55,909 to 27,792.

[Read full article on Independent website…]

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