Lunchtime news Wednesday 22 october 2023

In a joint letter to housing associations the Housing Corporation and Local Government Association have called on them to continue to work closely with local authorities to help boost affordable housing supply. The letter says that while housing delivery targets for 2015/09 remains on track ‘more than ever we will need to work together to adapt to the current environment and be willing to flex current models to ensure continued delivery’.

Banks and mortgage lenders have been accused of not passing on interest rate cuts by consumer group Which? It has called for ‘quid pro quo’ between banks and consumers, as a Moneyfacts survey recently found that the interest rate cuts have been passed on by just 25 per cent of lenders. A spokesperson for Which? said that with the worsening economic times, in the current circumstances the ‘consumer deserves a break’. This comes as Nationwide, the UK’s biggest building society, raised its rates on all of its tracker loans.

Meanwhile Barclays is to become the first lender to use the government’s £250 billion bank debt guarantee. It plans to raise up to £1 billion through the sale of three-year notes. Ray Boulger of John Charcol said the key to success in kickstarting the mortgage market would depend on the government not charging the banks too high a fee.

The Audit Commission is to extend short notice inspections to council housing services and arms length management associations. They are expected to vary in scope and duration – from looking at single service areas such as tenancy management, to cover the whole of the landlord service for tenants and leaseholders. Councils and ALMOs are invited to volunteer for the pilot scheme expected to start in the new year.

The High Court has warned magistrates’ courts not to make antisocial behaviour orders (Asbo) against individuals whose mental state made them ‘truly incapable’ of compliance. The High Court said that such orders would not protect the public and would be wrong in law to make them, after two senior judges were asked to clarify the law in the case of a homeless drug addict banned from Nottingham town centre. While the High Court declined to intervene in the case, it did issue guidelines for treatment in the future, when lawyers for the man said that the Asbo against him ‘criminalised his mental health problems’ and this prevented him from understanding and complying with the Asbo.

Londoners suffer the worst housing conditions in the country, after more than 750,000 were found to be living in overcrowded homes and more than one in 10 people living in the capital are on a social housing waiting list. Research from the National Housing Federation says the number of people waiting for social housing has increased by nearly 50 per cent in the past five years, and overall London needs at least an extra 11,000 new homes a year to meet demand. House prices cost more than 14 times the average Londoner’s income and private rents are more than twice expensive as social rents.