Greater powers for tenants in new social housing green paper

The Government published a social housing green paper today (August 14) which it hopes will provide more stability for tenants, rebalance relationships between residents and landlords and tackle stigma surrounding social housing.

Included in the green paper is a pledge to introduce new shared ownership schemes that will allow residents to buy 1% of their homes each year.

New powers will also be given to the regulator of social housing to intervene in cases of poor quality housing.

The paper also says that by rewarding the best neighbourhoods by funding events like street parties could ensure community pride is both encouraged and celebrated.

The green paper sets out 5 core themes:

  • Tackling stigma and celebrating thriving communities.
  • Expanding supply and supporting home ownership.
  • Effective resolution of complaints.
  • Empowering residents and strengthening the regulator.
  • Ensuring homes are safe and decent.

Secretary of State for Communities, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, said: ‘Providing quality and fair social housing is a priority for this government.

‘Our green paper offers a landmark opportunity for major reform to improve fairness, quality and safety to residents living in social housing across the country.

‘Regardless of whether you own your home or rent in the social sector, residents deserve security, dignity and the opportunities to build a better life.’

Responding, Cllr Judith Blake, Local Government Association housing spokesperson, said: ‘This Green Paper is a step towards delivering more social homes but it is only a small step, compared with the huge and immediate need for more genuinely affordable homes.

‘We have long called for reforms to Right to Buy in order to allow councils to build more homes, and there are some positive signs in the consultation.

‘But we must go much further so that councils can deliver the affordable homes that our residents need and deserve, including allowing councils to set discounts locally and to keep 100% of receipts from homes sold.

‘It is good that the Government has listened to our concerns and dropped plans to force the sale of council homes.

‘We have worked hard to demonstrate the need to scrap this policy which would have forced councils to sell off large numbers of the homes desperately needed by low-income families in our communities.’

The Labour Party have called the green paper ‘pitiful’ adding that the document reveals a Government out of ‘ideas on housing,’

‘Nothing in this Green Paper measures up to the scale of the housing crisis.’ said John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary.

‘The number of new social rented homes is at a record low but there is no new money to increase supply, and ministers are still preventing local authorities run by all parties from building the council homes their communities need.

‘After eight years of failure on housing, ministers should back Labour’s long-term plan for a million new genuinely affordable homes over ten years.’


Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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