CWAG News Update November 2019

CWAG News Update November 2019

This update includes the following: 
·         Housing Policy as featured in the Election Manifestos
·         CWAG Members’ Survey ‘You and Your ALMO’
·         Diary Date – CWAG Finance and Business Planning Workshop
·         Velux Safety Warning
·         CIPFA – new housing products
·         Publications / New in the Library

Housing Policy as featured in the Election Manifestos

With the General Election fast approaching, a review of the Party Manifestos highlights that this is an election where there are very different proposals and approaches on housing issues.

The Conservative Manifesto disappointingly signals a renewed focus on home ownership stating ‘we must also rebalance the housing market towards home ownership’.

On housing numbers, Labour’s proposals are the most ambitious aiming to build 150,000 new council and social homes per year at a cost of £75 billion. The Liberal Democrats are promising at least 100,000 homes for social rent each year, with total housebuilding increasing to 300,000 properties per year. The Conservative manifesto commitment to build one million homes by 2025 is much less ambitious; commentators highlight that this is an average of 200,000 units per year across all tenures which represents a reduction on the current 300,000 homes per year target.

There are three different approaches on Right to Buy. The Conservatives would retain this and extend the current housing association pilot to further areas, Labour would end the policy and the Liberal Democrats would devolve the decision to local authorities.

Click here - For a breakdown of the Party  Manifesto’s on housing – including building safety, tackling climate change and energy efficiency, homelessness, tenant involvement and the Social Housing White Paper

‘You and Your ALMO’ – CWAG members’ survey

CWAG has recently carried out a survey of member councils covering key issues and activities relating to the ALMO. This information is useful for understanding how the sector is changing and developing as well as facilitating networking between authorities.
Topics covered include:
·         Current management arrangements,  type and length of ALMO Management Agreements and the timing of reviews
·         ALMO Board composition and organisational structures
·         ALMO diversification activities
·         Council new build and property acquisition programmes
 Further information on the survey results is available in the members’ area of the CWAG website. Survey Results

Diary Date – CWAG Finance and Business Planning Workshop

The above CWAG event is being held on Tuesday 28 January 2020 at the LGA Offices, 18 Smith Square, Westminster. The meeting will be facilitated by Steve Partridge, Housing Consultancy Director at Savills. To book places please contact the Policy Officer.

Velux Product Safety Warning

We have been asked by the LGA to circulate a safety warning about a Velux Product.
Velux has recently reissued a safety warning originally made in 2011. This relates to certain window products manufactured and sold between 1997 and 2003. The inner glass sheet has been found to be at risk of spontaneous breakage, with cold temperature a known factor in increasing this risk. There is a concern that the product may still be in use and therefore social housing providers have been asked to check whether this product installed in their buildings.
Should you identify windows of this type, the safety warning also includes information on the actions required.

CIPFA is introducing a new range of housing analytical products for councils

Three integrated Housing analytical tools have been developed:
·              Housing Interactive Profile: this tool allows interactive comparisons against more than 70 different sets of performance indicators using LA and sector groupings.
·              Housing Future Resources Model: this aims to project a range of HRA metrics to 2023 that can be used to inform predictability models on core indicators.
·              Housing Scorecard: this is designed to enable local authorities to keep the HRA and housing service in check.
 Click here for more information

Publications / New in the Library

Housing Revenue Account Special Report – Steve Partridge and Simon Smith

This analysis of the latest data on councils HRAs supports the case for investment in new stock. The report reviews the national HRA position against a number of factors including operating margins, debt to turnover levels, interest cover ratios and loan to value ratios.
This Review summarises recent consumer regulation issues and trends and sets out key messages for the sector from the Regulator. Learning points from recent consumer regulation cases are highlighted in areas such as health and safety compliance, neighbourhood issues, tenant engagement and allocations.
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