The Strategy of The Bedroom Tax

We are told that George Osborne treats politics as a game of chess:

… it is one of those three-tiered chessboards. The lower tier is tactics, the art of winning day-by-day scuffles. The middle tier is strategy, which is planning for the next election. The top tier is grand strategy.’ http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2012/03/george-osbornes-budget-0

It is obviously essential that the policies and day-to-day tactics of this ‘Tory’ government be confronted but it needs to be understood that activity within each layer of the board is predicated on the intentions of the topmost…

For example, the ‘Bedroom tax’ is the strategy.  The strange rationalization… that government is trying to ‘reduce overcrowding’… is the tactic.

But the grand strategy is the age-old one of dispossessing low-income people from the high value land that they occupy… the long-term aim is social cleansing of the inner city.

The dire impacts of the ‘Bedroom tax’ on individuals are heartbreaking but the real targets are the social housing associations whose viability are threatened by the likely large scale rent arrears… and their subsequent difficulties in arranging finance:

‘The social housing sector is an intricate machine; significant manipulation of policy and funding levers without fully understanding the potential impacts, is likely to cause major disruption to the way the sector works, both in terms of its ability to support its tenants and its ability to attract investment for development of new affordable housing.‘ (1)

 

Why would the Tories want to cripple housing associations and clear the inner city? …Just think of the rents that private landlords will be able to charge for newly acquired ex-social housing in Kensington and Chelsea… and the prime locations that will become available for purchase.

But perhaps more importantly, it moves away potential ‘trouble’, creating much more easily defended areas for the wealthy (just like the heavily defended citadel in Soylent Green).  By relocating individuals and families to cheaper areas, the assault on social housing also provides the means to break up natural communities of mutual support.  Public protests and rioting are invariably urban phenomena, as we saw in the London riots.

Boris may have said that there would be ‘”no Kosovo-style social cleansing” of the city’s low income households on his watch, but he has diverted 80% (£93.3 million) from affordable housing programmes to the Mayor’s Housing Covenant, which aims to help middle income earners into homeownership.

In war, the first casualty is truth

 … and as Warren Buffett said:

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”  

References:

  1. Council of Mortgage Lenders’ Response to SSAC call for Evidence – Universal Cride/ Housing Benefit in Social Sector Part 1
  2.  Soylent Green, George Osborne and Plutonomy

The beginning of the end of Social Housing?

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The beginning of the end of Social Housing?

By Sue Fairweather

I do have a very vested and selfish interest in the outcome of all that we fight for on this page to protect our ‘social’ homes simply because I live in one and passionately believe in Social Welfare. Let’s look at the progression of Welfare Reform that is being implemented in just this year alone.

BT (underoccupancy penalties)

14% or 25%/ Allowance for ‘right to buy’ more than doubled to £75,000/HB under Government/Universal Credit replacing Housing Benefit/Benefit Cap…to name a few!

The Bedroom Tax

Oppose-the-Bedroom-tax-e1363101953740

However we are directly ‘taxed’ or not we are all personally affected, it is a reform that is openly going to cost much more than it saves and will hit the unemployed, the disabled, the vulnerable and ultimately the tax payer (inland rev type)…those tax payers are beginning to realise this and ask why?

Housing Benefit

  • Working families are becoming increasingly dependent on state benefits to avoid eviction due to a soaring housing market, a report has said.
  • A failure to build enough new homes in recent years has pushed rents and house prices up, and led to an 86% increase in housing benefit claims since 2009 by those in employment, according to the National Housing Federation (NHF) report. Homeless Bound  
  • The study revealed 10,000 more working families now need housing benefit every month to help pay their rent, with 417,830 more workers claiming it over the past three years.

(Sky News, Click image for video clip)

Housing Benefit  is no longer paid by Councils, it has been taken into the hands of Central Government and the DWP.

Councils/Housing Associations however, unfunded and unsupported, will have to face the cost of appeals,court actions, possible evictions and subsequent homelessness. They also should they take any measures against this happening as Knowsley on bedroom size and Councils/HAs refusing to evict, finance this alone…a sure way to lose their own financial backing!

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)  is not a solution. It may even be a huge governmental publicity stunt! If every affected household gets an award it would be only a little more than a couple of quid per week; it is short term; it is administered by the Councils who in this small area hold the funding. It is a divide and rule measure as Councils will decide priorities differently. Who will we blame?

housing in crisis

For all of the above reasons I urge caution when you consider your way forward as your Social Landlord could crash and fail very soon …privatisation of your houses would follow. Strike one.

Right to buy

We all know of the Thatcherite initiative and many have benefited and live happily in their own homes. Let’s look at some details past and present. In the past the monies from those sales have gone directly to the Inland Revenue; now this will be put to building ‘affordable housing’; it nowhere says Social Housing SH will simply not be replaced.

  • Right to Buy Allowance went down from its initial 50% to a varying up to £33K,the new maximum is £75,000. It will tempt many and that’s what it’s there for…get them locked into a mortgage and they will accept any work conditions.
  • 1 in 22 social house tenants who have exercised their right to buy have defaulted on their mortgages and lost their once secure homes as compared with 1 in 77 in the private sector.
  • What happens to that once social housing? In some areas up to 50% is sold on to private landlords…this has been happening since the Thatcher years.

This is already a great loss to social housing stock and with the recession will increasing lead to a private ‘buy to let’ market. Strike two.

Universal Credit

This is the decider for the fate of Social Housing! Who amongst you will be able to bear the increasing costs of food and fuel this year and then be hit by the change to monthly payments and budgeting where you will have to sign up to a ‘contract’ of conduct and pay your own rent from that budget? Who will pay their rent first? Add the Benefit cap which will affect mostly larger families with children to feed, who wouldn’t feed their kids first?

Social Landlords, I believe will face rent arrears on a monumental scale which they cannot survive…Strike 3 and you’re out!

I will return…but it is worth noting that any future social housing to come onto the market (new builds or newly bought) will carry an 80% of local private sector rental! My house rent as an example would then be £240…doubled!.

See also:

  1. Shelter: 2013 Changes to Housing Benefit 
  2. The unnatural death of affordable Housing. Think Left
  3. This isn’t Dickens, it’s today – Winter’s Cold, Homeless and Hungry, Think Left
  4. Softly, softly into slums, New Law gives councils the right to turn homeless away. Think Left
  5. Guardian, Polly Toynbee 2013 Boom for Slum Landlords 
  6. Sky News , with video clip: Workers need Benefits to avoid eviction
  7. 24Dash: Homelessness soars from Wirral to London 

The Unnatural Death of Affordable Housing

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The Unnatural Death of Affordable Housing?

By Jim Grundy

Many years ago one Tory councillor said to me that it was about time that there was a political debate about whether the market should be left to meet all housing needs in future. At the time, this was so absurd a suggestion that it was laughed off. Now it is government policy and few people are laughing. (Probably not even the individual who said it, who was forced from office for fiddling his expenses.)

This Government has stopped developing new affordable housing. Yes, it calls its new programme ‘Affordable Rent’ [1] but if ever there was a better example of Orwellian newspeak I’ve yet to hear it. You see, the Tories define ‘Affordable Rent’ as 80% of local market rents. But with private rents wholly unregulated, these are soaring way beyond the ability of millions to pay half of those levels let alone four-fifths of the price.

The Tories have abandoned those in housing need to the whims of the market and then blamed them for the rising cost of housing benefit. The reality is that 10,000 new claims for housing benefit are being made by working households every month. 

I’ll repeat that: 10,000! [2] They’re obviously not striving enough.

But, not content to rest on their laurels, the Tories – with Liberal Democrat backing – are about to introduce Welfare Reform and a number of other goodies that have major implications for our housing market and those unable to get the taxpayer to pay for their stables.

Take Universal Credit, for example, which is due to be phased in from next year.

Housing Benefit, currently paid directly to the housing association or council, will be paid together with any other benefits received by the household, in one lump sum and paid directly to the tenants. Obviously this involves ‘savings’ too and the Chartered Institute of Housing found that 400,000 low paid working families will indeed be worse off as a result [3]. Even leaving aside the cuts involved, paying housing benefit directly to people already struggling to make ends meet, many with poor money management skills, some in the hands of pay day lenders, is a recipe for chaos.

Scare-mongering by a ‘nannying leftie’ not prepared to allow people to stand on their own two feet and take control of their lives? That line has been used to defend the Government’s plans and there might be some justification for it had not the impact of direct payment already been demonstrated for all to see.

Trials of the new arrangements have been held in six pilot areas. In each case between 20-30% of tenants struggled to pay their rent on time [4] and rent arrears have at least doubled [5]. Contrast that with existing levels of rent collection – where I live it is 98.9%. There’s no reason to think that tenants in my part of the world are so radically different from those in the pilot areas. I’m guessing that this time next year we won’t be collecting just shy of 99% of the rent due. And, remember, this is before the introduction of other changes like the Bedroom Tax, cuts to Council Tax Benefit, below inflation ‘increases’ to other benefits and pay, not matched by similar reductions in the cost of fuel, food, etc.

The task facing managers of social housing will be huge. It has already been estimated that 23% of tenants will require assistance to help them adjust to the new system [6]. But the costs of not doing more will be infinitely higher.

This has led to calls for the introduction of Universal Credit to be delayed. The chief executive of the National Housing Federation, David Orr, said recently: “Our research shows that one million social housing residents risk falling into debt if all their benefits are paid to them directly in a single monthly payment and will need extra support to manage their budgets when Universal Credit is phased-in next year. A delay would give time for a full evaluation of the Government’s trials before the system is rolled-out nationally, and enable safety nets to be arranged for the most vulnerable.” [7]

What does this mean? For tenants, a significantly increased risk of losing their home through the accumulation of rent arrears. For landlords – largely unsupported by capital grants – it will mean that many will struggle to get the finance they need to develop new homes that are so desperately needed as their income stream – rents – is undermined.

Recent research estimated that social landlords stand to lose £750m due to Universal Credit and a further £50m arising from the Bedroom Tax [8]. The £800m lost represents nearly double the total Government investment in new housing. That stands at £450m, compared to £3bn in 2009/10 [9]. I wonder what could have happened in between times.

For a government so obsessed with debt it is cruelly ironic that this unwanted, unnecessary change –one that Iain Duncan Smith refused even to publish the business case for [10] – will lead directly to more bad debts, more tenants evicted but fewer new homes being built as lenders will look upon some parts of the sector as a bad risk.

The rise in bad debts doesn’t just affect the development of new housing but the very viability of ‘dozens’ of social landlords, with the research cited previously suggesting that even the smallest organisation stands to lose £750,000 p.a., whilst the very largest could end up with an annual loss of £22m. [11]

Historically, very few social landlords have gone out of business, so this will be very much new territory. Presumably, following other business models, it will lead to more ‘consolidation’ within the sector, as the smaller associations become less and less viable, leaving more and more houses in the hands of fewer and fewer landlords. And that brings with it its own dangers for the very concept of social housing.

As Michael Meacher commented recently, “Social housing landlords generated their largest profit ever last year, a total of £1.4bn on a turnover of £14.2bn, i.e. a return on capital as high as 10%. All the big corporate landlords – L&Q, Guinness, Circle HG, Sanctuary HG, Places for People – made a profit per unit of stock of between £250 and £1,380.” [12]

In times of rising rents and a growing shortage (if that makes sense) of housing, there’s big money to be made by landlords right now; the growth in the private rented sector is evidence of that. And if providing housing for low income households becomes uneconomic then in order to survive a housing association could consider changing its client group and move into the private for profit sector. To whom will those who can’t afford their rents go?

It is being said many times but we are in the middle of a huge housing crisis. Normal advice is when in a hole to stop digging. The Coalition has, instead, hired a digger – not by accident but by deliberate design. The social cost does not bear thinking about. But there’s gold in them there slums.

  1. Inside Housing: Not so affordable rent 
  2. This is Money: National Housing Federation : Benefit doubles- Landlords demand more 
  3.  Inside Housing: Low Income Families lose out under welfare reform 
  4.  24 Dash: Welfare reform puts dozens of housing associations at risk – research 
  5. Housing.org.uk Social Tenants’ Finances 
  6.  Inside Housing : A quarter of tenants need help with universal credit 
  7.  24 Dash: Landlords back MPs call to delay direct payments under Universal Credit 
  8.  24 Dash: Welfare Reform puts dozens of housing associations at rise – research 
  9. Michael Meacher: Social Housing turned into a money spinner 
  10. 24 Dash: IDS refuses to publish Universal Credit Business Case 
  11. PHHSL: The Financial Implications of Welfare Reform for Social Landlords 
  12. Michael Meacher: Social Housing turned into a money spinner 

“Never Again” : Homes and Communities for Everyone

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Homes and Communities for Everyone

“Never Again”

Margaret Thatcher’s ominous words, “There’s no such thing as society,” were destined to haunt many future generations.

Reeling from two world wars, and the defeat of fascism, ordinary British families, bereaved and broken, damaged yet determined set about rebuilding Britain. The political message of “Never Again” in 1945 1) led to a Socialist Labour government which promised full employment, a tax-funded universal National Health Service, a massive housing programme and the embracing of Keynesian economic policies.

Labour’s cradle-to-grave welfare state, presented with the campaign message ‘Let us face the future’ brought everyone together for common good. 2)

Collectivism was implicit, everyone was valued for their contribution, mutual respect prevailed, society thrived and so did people. Working class people who grew up in the sixties and seventies benefited with opportunities their forefathers never knew.

All this was turned on its head in the eighties. The positive idea of collectivism, the interdependence of people, the power of solidarity, and of trade unionism was crushed.

Thatcher’s esteemed ideas of individuals’ wealth, and her contempt for collective socialism was fed, via the media and Neoliberalism was born. Many believed that this new prosperity could be a reality for them, and bought into the idea of home ownership, and of property investment, believing that this would lead to a greater share in the nation’s wealth.

The Victorian working classes survived against the odds, given their appalling living conditions. Inner city housing for working class families was inferior to farm animals, and this was reflected in the very high mortality rates, and incidence of disease.. The sanitary conditions in Birmingham back-to-backs at the turn of the century are documented here. 3)

Against this background, socialist and Labour groups campaigned for municipal housing. The homes would be owned by the people, were intended put an end to the slums.

Fred Knee secretary of the Workers National Housing Council in the 1890’s said “It is not the housing of the poor, but the housing of the people by the people themselves, that we must work for not the herding into slums for the benefit of private enterprise, not the crowding into barracks in order to provide interest for municipal bondholders, but by a feasible honest system and plan “

Early struggles for Council Housing…and the opposition to it 1900 to 1945 (John Grayson) 4)

The core principle is that the houses would be decent homes, improving health and living standards for working people. The idea was unpopular with Tory Councils because some saw housing, not as people’s homes, but as a source of income. The idea of collective ownership in any form was seen as a threat.

John Grayson’s document of History of Housing from 1900 until 2007 4) (recommended) recounts the development of the municipal housing, and how Conservative policies deliberately targeted rents, making housing unaffordable leading to social and racial divisions.

Beveridge (Lib) had identified poor housing as one of five great evils, and it was at the forefront of Nye Bevan’s policy with over one million homes being built. However, by 1957 Conservatives had already started to withdraw subsidies, causing municipal rents to treble, and discrimination in private rental market led to racism and division.

In 1968 council housing 31% of tenants were from the poorest 30% of households nationally, 46% from the richest 50% of households. Those attracted to council house living were actually a good cross-section of working class and professional middle class families. Councils by building houses for rent were also able to attract what we now call ‘key workers’ to their areas, and provide ‘labour mobility’ .

Council housing in 1978 at its all time high, nearly a third of housing (32%), but Labour had also encouraged owner occupation (54%). 1978 was a year when there was serious housing choice. Campaigns forced Labour to pass the Homeless Persons Act 1977, and the Race Relations Act in 1976, which brought in many tenants who had been excluded. In 1979 councils were still housing in rented accommodation 20% of the richest tenth of the population.

Tipping the Balance of Society

Thirty years ago there was balanced, sustainable council housing alongside owner occupation. Because of the cross section of manual and professional workers, communities were balanced, and necessary skills widespread. Thus the Thatcherite housing policies destroyed the heart of society. They destroyed the cohesion of communities, leading to areas of great deprivation, and poverty.

Before 1979, Conservative policies allowed council tenants to take on their homes in exchange for maintaining them. Thatcher’s polices of Right-to Buy Council homes led many to buy their homes at a discounted price and with rents rising their hands were forced. Thatcher did not permit the housing stock to be replenished, leading to an acute housing shortage and glimpse back in time, to the days of unscrupulous landlords.

Unreasonably high and unaffordable rents need to be subsidised by Housing Benefit because that is the only way people can afford to live in them, despite many working long hours. Shamefully, Tony Blair’s New Labour governments did not address the housing crisis. Neoliberalism, out of control capitalism, hid behind the illusion of an ever-growing housing bubble.

People were led to believe that a society based on escalating property prices and neoliberalism could thrive. Meanwhile manufacturing industry closed down with the business emphasis on finance, mortgages and insurance. Blindly, many took on debts they could not afford. House prices rose uncontrollably and we witnessed the greed of buy-to-let mortgages which put the prospect of any home out of reach of young people. It is an impossibility for such a system to continue indefinitely, and a crash was inevitable.

Now the Bubble has burst, haemorrhaging its wealth to bankers and corporations.

To Neo-liberalism we say, “Never Again”. And, once Whitehall is rid of this destructive Coaltion government, and we look to build our communities again, we need to be aware of dangers and , banish those myths.

Myth 1.”Buying a home is an investment, as house prices increase – “. There is no guarantee that house prices will rise – in fact this approach is basically gambling, and who would gamble with their home?

Myth 2. “Rising house-prices is a good thing.” House price rises just mean other people are less likely to be able to obtain a home, leading to homelessness.

Myth 3. “People claim Housing Benefit so they don’t need to work.” Most claimants are at work, high rent prices effectively mean the only one to benefit is the landlord. Without benefits, working people could simply not survive.

Myth 3: “Buying a house saves money – renting costs more in the long run.” Buying a home costs much more than the cost to build, interest rates always benefit the banks and financiers. Rents are kept artificially high.

Myth 4: ” In a recession the government cannot afford to build homes”. The government can produce its own money for building, providing jobs, and boosting the economy, frankly the government can not afford not to build.

Myth 5: “Young people can stay at home with parents.” Many have no parents, their parents may have no homes, or no space. Undue pressure and overcrowding will have a detrimental effect on family relationships.

Myth 6: “People don’t deserve a subsidised home, I worked hard for mine.” Everyone deserves a decent home, and a job, enabling them to participate in society for mutual benefit.”

In history, the working class at war faced awful conditions, fodder for trenches and factories alike. For the last thirty years many live lives devoid of dignity or respect while the very rich, look away without a care, merely concerned with their own profits.

Homes for the Future

The People’s Recovery

Miliband’s One Nation should be aiming for full employment for everyone who can work, and allow all to participate as fully as is possible, to enjoy a decent home, and reasonable life-work balance, without debt, or impacting negatively on the future finances and environment of our grandchildren. Why, in a world where there is adequate resources for all, are people living without homes? Why are homes left empty? Where is the justice in a world where some have many homes, and others none at all?

James Murray 5) and the Think-Tank CLASS (Campaign for Labour and Social Studies ) have recently published “Time to Step-in”, and call for government intervention in Housing policy and and investment in publicly funded social housing initiatives. It is the responsibility of government to determine where homes are built, and the type of homes.

Murray’s emphasis of the need not to rely of the profit driven markets to deliver housing is exemplified in that the Coalition government are considering reviewing energy and disability regulations 6) in order to boost a building boom.

The Government are planning to cut fire safety and wheelchair regulations (6) in attempts to give the construction industry an economic boost.

Ministers have ordered an across the board review, to examine whether regulations, across energy, water, security, accessibility and whether builders should be given the option of self- regulation, should be introduced to cut costs for the industry.

This coincides with the governments relaxation on home building, as only last month David Cameron announced a ‘free for all’, allowing home owners to be able to extend their houses by up to 8 metres without planning permission from the local council.
Plans to give the construction industry a boost come from the latest shocking figures that house building is at its lowest since the 1920’s, resulting in rent costs at an all time high, and potentially blocking a whole generation out of the property ladder.

It is unacceptable for housing initiatives to be merely driven by profit, and almost inconceivable that such risks to safety are contemplated.

Homes must be secure, safe and affordable, but also need to be built in areas where there is suitable employment, and where people want to live. Homes built in Ghost Estates in Ireland lie empty, never occupied. Simply pursuing policies of a profit-driven society, without consideration of employment, education and training needs, eventually lead to the social divisions we see today. This can result in a persistence of poverty in some urban areas, despite restructuring communities as revealed in the study, Why Neighbourhoods remain poor.( 7)

  • Economic restructuring, particularly the decline of the manufacturing sector in Birmingham, plays an important role in explaining this.
  • The loss of these jobs has disproportionately affected already deprived areas.
  • Birmingham is becoming a low-wage economy. Since 2001, wages have fallen in real terms and at a faster rate amongst the lower-paid.
  • Internal migration within the city has also tended to concentrate less advantaged people within already deprived areas largely due to the cost, tenure and availability of housing.
  • The availability of affordable housing – either social rented or cheap private housing – in particular areas mean that those with least choice tend to move to those places.Looking forward we must be ready for the Conservatives who will attempt to block every initiative for common ownership, and policies aimed at redistribution of wealth. We all need homes, decent ones, as we need food water, and energy, and this is why a Housing Policy must always put need before profit.

Declining Construction Industry

Recent reports (BBC) 18) show UK construction industry falling, and as we approach winter further falls can be anticipated putting many out of work and on benefits.

UK construction activity fell 13.1% in September from a year ago, as the sector’s downturn steepened:

ONS  Construction Industry Q3: 2012 19)

The month saw further big drops in new building by the commercial and public sectors (excluding infrastructure projects), both of which were down by a fifth from a year ago.

House building saw a 5% bounce in the month but remains 12% below a year ago.

The government’s policy of deep cuts during a recessions is more disaster politics. A massive building initiative of public building, providing jobs worked in 1945 and will work again.

We must be mindful of corruption and  insist on transparency about construction companies and ensure that they publicise any self interest and detail their finances and tax contributions. Never again should we allow public assets to be stripped away for personal profit. Here, Sir John Banham is advocating the use of pensions funds for Local Authority workers 8) to fund housing.

(8) The Telegraph reports on a year-long study by the Future Homes Commission, which is chaired by City grandee Sir John Banham, proposes that money from local authorities’ pension funds should be used to create a £10 billion Local Housing Development Fund, which would build mixed-tenure housing in communities suffering from a shortage.

With the courage reminiscent of the socialist Labour Party of 65 years ago, with innovative design, planning and, and a commitment to improve living standards and people’s well-being, we can finally turn our back on the damage inflicted by Margaret Thatcher.

Homes for the Future

The document Homes for the Future, more affordable sustainable (9) 2007, foreword by Yvette Cooper outlines detailed plans for communities and plans for building expansion not seen for forty years. A future Labour government must be prepared to make funds available for the investment our communities need, this time not for the benefit of private enterprise, but for people, because it is they who matter, and it is they who are the source of wealth and mutual benefit regardless of contradictions of Conservative propaganda.

Land left, unused yet fit for building should be made available for building, not left waiting to turn a profit. Investment should be made to modernise old housing stock, by retrofitting modern insulation, and fitting renewable energy micro-generation, for example solar panels.

We should invest in new-builds; well-designed homes, effectively insulated by modern building materials, truly sustainable homes powered by renewable energy and if these are to be collectively owned it would provide a win-win situation. Planning should encompass existing communities, equipped with the facilities residents need, and of a sustainable design. Such communities will be infinitely more suitable than building dense housing devoid of any infrastructure in order to maximise profits.

Rather than “investment” in homes, and a mortgage which feeds hidden bank accounts in tax havens around the world, this would be a real investment in the future and for which our grandchildren will thank us. The result would be a better, happier life for everyone.

References and Further Reading

1. 1945 General Election – Wikipaedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_general_election,_19451.

2. From warfare to welfare:

3. Living Back-to Back, by Chris Upton, published Phllimore

4. http://www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk/dch/…/GraysonHistory.doc

4. GraysonHistory-Housing: pdf document John Grayson

5. CLASS: Think Piece Time to step in http://classonline.org.uk/pubs/item/time-to-step-in Time_to_step_in-James_Murray Download:

6 . Government reviews energy and disability regulation in order to boost building boom

7. Why Neighbourhoods Remain Poor pdf document: Barrow Cadbury Trust: Deprivation, Place and People in Birmingham

8. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/9633580/Use-pension-funds-to-boost-housing-report-says.html Use pension funds to boost housing.

9. Communities and Local Government : Homes for the Future, more affordable more sustainable

10. Poor Brum, Think Left

11. Time to consider brick bonds , Think Left

12. This isn’t Dickens, It’s Today: Winter’s Cold, Homeless and Hungry, Think Left

13. Shelter: The causes of Homelessness

14. Homelessness kills – Executive Summary An analysis of the mortality of homeless people

15. No Green Coalition Efficien-City -Interactive Link , Greenpeace, Think Left

16. The New Housing Plan is Flawed, Think Left

17 Richard Murphy: The Courageous State

Update: Stop press:

18: ONS Figures for Construction Industry Q 3 2012 (pdf) 9th November 2012

19. BBC Report :Construction activity fell 13.1% in September from a year ago, ONS figures show. BBC 9th November 2012