On subsidy

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There was a bit of a twitter spat this week between a couple of Inside Housing journalists and a few SHOUT supporters about the use of the word “subsidy”. You can read it here.

In a nutshell the journalists were arguing that £4.5 billion of grant paid to housing providers would be viewed by the wider public as a “subsidy” and that we would face an uphill struggle to persuade them otherwise. Perhaps we will, because the writ of the Daily Mail clearly runs wide and deep, but one of the key ambitions of the SHOUT campaign is to challenge this lazy stereotyping. Continue reading

Fiscal myopia

When the SHOUT campaign was launched exactly a year ago one of its central arguments was that investment in social rented housing could save the taxpayer money. We knew in our hearts that this must be true but did not have the empirical evidence to support our argument. Well now we do.

A few months ago SHOUT, together with the National Federation of ALMOS, commissioned Capital Economics, one of the most reputable, independent research firms in the business, to test our thesis. Today we are proud to publish that research. “Building New Social Rent Homes” shows that investment in 100,000 social rented homes a year makes sense. In their words: Continue reading

Buying votes

Well we wanted housing to be a hot election issue and so it has become, but perhaps not in the way we anticipated.

Extending the Right to Buy to 1.3 million housing association tenants (around 25 percent already have a preserved right to buy) had been trailed for months, but it was still a shock when it appeared in the Conservative manifesto yesterday morning. My first reaction was: what’s the bloody point? All this campaigning, writing, lobbying, tweeting and yet Conservative policy makers still go ahead with an illiterate, uncosted, unworkable and possibly illegal proposal. Have we all been wasting our time? This was reflected in the letter sent out by David Orr yesterday which was suffused with a sense of despair that the Federation’s “behind the scenes” lobbying had come to nothing. Continue reading