Monthly archives: March 2012

Nicola Hughes

By Nicola Hughes

Boom, bust and the West Wing

Toby’s been referencing Dickens in his recent blog post, so here goes with another policy lovers favourite cultural reference; the West Wing. The fictional US leader President Jed Bartlet was renowned for his economic expertise and prudence. But looking back now, he was, like most other people, somewhat optimistic about the state of the economy and about housing in particular. “Home-ownership levels are higher than they’ve ever been!” he would merrily retort at critics of his policies.

Sadly, the state … MORE...

Deborah Garvie

By Deborah Garvie

Will the NPPF deliver on affordable housing?

Today the Government finally published the detail of its new National Planning Policy Framework. It is a welcome recognition by the government that we need more homes, and building more homes is good for the economy.

During the messy row over the draft version, Shelter called for the framework to bring about the delivery of homes in the right places, of the right type and at the right price to alleviate housing need. So will it deliver genuinely affordable … MORE...

Kate Webb

By Kate Webb

A simpler benefits system – unless you’re a social tenant

One of the Welfare Reform Act’s intentions, and one Shelter was happy to support, was a pledge to simplify the benefits system. In light of this it is surprising that one particular measure was allowed to survive the bill unscathed, despite being overturned twice by the Lords.

The Act will cut housing benefit for council and housing association tenants if they are judged to be occupying a larger property than they need. The definition of this is incredibly strict … MORE...

Anne Baxendale

By Anne Baxendale

Into the mainstream: property taxation on the agenda

A key (and much trailed) feature of the Chancellor’s budget today was the introduction of higher stamp duty rates for properties worth more than £2 million. Let’s call it ‘mansion tax lite’. The coalition will also be clamping down on stamp duty avoidance, raising stamp duty even higher for foreign owners of high value homes, and consulting on an annual tax of 15% for certain ‘non-natural persons’ buying mansions. (Non-natural persons is a bit of a funny phrase, … MORE...

Robbie de Santos

By Robbie de Santos

NewBuy: what’s the alternative?

As the hype around the government’s NewBuy scheme rumbles on, it’s worth pausing for a moment to contemplate why owning a home is such a national obsession, and consequently, why politicians always look to home ownership when they want to deliver a package that plays to the aspirations of Middle England.

To my mind, the real question is: what is the alternative to owning a home? For an increasing number of middle-income families their only option is to rent … MORE...