Social housing green paper proposals to give tenants more power

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The long-awaited arrival of the social housing green paper has revealed a ‘new deal’ which aims to rebalance the relationship between landlords and residents, tackle stigma and ensure social housing can act as a stable base and support social mobility

The measures include speeding up the complaints procedure and publishing league tables to highlight the performance of landlords.

Residents across the country were asked for their views on social housing; almost 1,000 tenants shared their views with ministers at 14 events across the country, with over 7,000 submitting their opinions, issues and concerns online.

The consultation launched alongside this green paper gives everyone the opportunity to submit views on proposals for the future of social housing and will run until 6 November 2018.

The social housing green paper sets out 5 core principles:

  • Tackling stigma and celebrating thriving communities
  • Expanding supply and supporting homeownership
  • 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.”

With 4 million households living in social housing and this predicted to rise annually, it’s crucial that we tackle the issues facing both residents and landlords in social housing.

In September last year, the former communities secretary Sajid Javid said the government would produce the Green Paper as soon as possible in the wake of the Grenfell blaze, which killed 72 people.

Green Papers are government documents which set out policy ideas and enable ministers to consult on the suggestions.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said the government’s plan was “full of warm words, but doesn’t commit a single extra penny towards building the social homes needed by the 1.2 million people on the waiting list”.

Judith Blake, housing spokeswoman for the Local Government Association, said the proposals were “a step towards delivering more social homes” – but “only a small step”.

“There is a desperate need to reverse the decline in council housing over the past few decades.”

While shadow housing secretary John Healey said the offering from the government was “pitiful”, with nothing that “measures up to the scale of the housing crisis“.

Healey added: “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.”

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