A time for ambitious thinking?

As a new joiner to Shelter’s policy team I’ve already been introduced to some interesting ideas about how we can make housing more affordable, better quality and get a better deal for the growing numbers of private tenants. The policy team is not short of solutions to the many failings of our housing market – as the many postings on this blog prove.

I’ve recently moved across from a political office, which included working on some manifesto ideas for London’s … Read more

Channel shift?

Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox has launched Go-ON UK, the new campaign to increase our digital literacy. It picks up the baton from Race Online 2012, which has helped reduce the number of people in the UK who have never used the internet.

This is very good news. Afterall, with advances in technology moving at such a pace, those without the skills, confidence or opportunities to use the net face being left way behind. Digital exclusion will matter … Read more

Is it better to invest in bricks or benefits?

The Housing Minister recently tweeted that the housing benefit debate is “misinformed” by claims the budget is being cut, when spending is in fact forecast to resume its upward trend after next year’s cuts have bitten.

This may be a deeply disingenuous argument – the Minister knows full well that the amounts paid out to individual households are falling – but it does highlight an important point: despite a £2 billion package of cuts the overall housing benefit budget will … Read more

Keeping tabs on housing

I’ve whinged far too often about the fact that housing never seems to get the political attention it deserves. This is partly to do with the way housing shows up in polls – as Ipsos MORI’s Ben Page spelled out here recently. Although every MP’s post bag is full of their constituents’ housing problems, these problems are experienced by each family as theirs alone – and are treated accordingly by politicians.

But politics seems to be finally waking up … Read more

Guest blog: Ipsos MORI and RIBA report - It’s not all about quantity
Guest blog: Ipsos MORI and RIBA report - It’s not all about quantity

Long before working at Shelter, I had a bugbear about balconies. Yep, balconies. In my first few flats there was no little patch to grow plants, hang the washing up or just sit in the sun with a drink. That may sound petty, but whenever I see a new block of flats going up with measly little windows and no access to outside space, I want to scream.

Ben Marshall is Research Director at Ipsos MORI.

We can all think … Read more

Telephone gateway – or barrier?

A fortnight ago the Legal Aid, Punishment and Sentencing of Offenders Act received Royal Assent. It’s just 18 months since the legal aid reforms were first put forward by the Ministry of Justice. Since then, the Government has succeeded in making dramatic changes to the legal aid system.

Not only has the scope of legal aid been cut but the way it’s delivered will now change.

Those in need of legal advice, but unable to pay for it, will no … Read more

The mortgage headache continues

Today’s arrears and repossessions figures confirm that we’re in our fourth consecutive year of high levels of home repossessions. It’s a worrying sign of how difficult economic conditions are – and of just how precarious so many people’s finances are. Sadly, thousands of people losing their homes is only part of the story. There are more than 150,000 households in serious arrears, i.e. more than three months behind on their mortgage payments.

The overall number of people in serious arrears … Read more

Guest blog: IPPR report on housing in Bradford

Too often reflections on our disparate housing market focus on a crude north-south divide, of rocketing house prices in the south, and decline in the north. Just a couple of weeks ago Shelter was campaigning in Liverpool, and our campaigns team heard from hundreds of the city’s residents just how awful their housing situation is. IPPR’s report on housing in Bradford shows just how complex a city’s housing can be, and we are pleased to feature a guest blog … Read more

Tough challenges for the next Mayor of London

As officials count the votes from London’s mayoral election, reports suggest that it’s simply too close to call, and we don’t know yet who will be celebrating (or commiserating) over the Bank Holiday weekend.

But whoever London’s next Mayor is, they will have to sober up to the realities facing the capital, in particular those around housing.

We’ve heard some big pledges from the candidates. All of them backed Shelter’s campaign, stating that they’ll create Homes for London, … Read more

Guest blog: Ben Page reflects on housing as an electoral issue

There are local and mayoral elections across the United Kingdom today, so we are delighted to have a timely guest blog from the esteemed pollster Ben Page, Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI, writing about the challenges and paradoxes of housing as a personal and political issue. Over the coming weeks we’ll be reflecting on how housing has faired in the elections where Shelter has been seeking to get housing on the political agenda. But for now, over to … Read more