Lunchtime news Friday 28 September 2023

Immigration is the hot topic in the news today, after the Office of National Statistics (ONS) announced it was revising it’s long-term immigration figures upwards by a third. For the past few years they had assumed that net migration figures – the difference between those leaving and those arriving – was 145,000 a year for the next two decades. However the new figures appear to be closer to 190,000 a year. The chairman of Migrationwatch, Sir Andrew Green said: ‘housing demand simply for new immigrants will increase from 200 a day to 260 a day for the next 20 years’. He added the impact would be even greater if children of new arrivals were included. Data from the Department for Children, Schools and Families also released yesterday show the change in demographics across the country – figures indicate that nationally 21.9 per cent of primary school children are now from an ethnic minority background.

Yvette Cooper told a meeting at the Labour Party conference that the government was prepared to ‘look into’ the issue of housing associations’ chief executive salaries. A survey by Inside Housing last week showed that chief executives received on average, a pay increase of 10 per cent over the last year, far outstripping front line staff. HHSE’s Chief Executive, Adam Sampson, warned that soaring salaries of senior housing association managers are damaging charities: ‘It becomes increasingly difficult to access good quality senior managers because if they were in the housing association sector they would get paid twice what we pay them’.

The government has also been urged to raise the rent thresholds on assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) to safeguard private sector tenants in the face of spiralling rents. Landlords and lenders have warned that rent levels are increasingly breaching the £481 p/week mark – the maximum level for ASTs. Landlords not covered by ASTs do not have to sign up to the tenancy deposit schemes.

Boris Johnson was last night named as Conservative candidate for the London mayoral election after winning an overwhelming majority (79 per cent of the vote). He has promised to address the housing shortage in the capital.

And finally, a housebuilding company, Ballymore, has announced plans to build Europe’s tallest residential skyscraper in Manchester. The 60-storey structure, to include 700 flats, is being built next to Piccadilly and the company are believed to have spent £50 million for the site, and up to £250 million on construction.