What you read in February and the shape of things to come?

What have you been reading in February?

Posted by joehalewood ⋅ March 8, 2012

January was a busy month at least in the number of views to my blogs which increased significantly (over 40%) and for the first time recorded over 2000 views.   It was the first time I had started looking at what you, kind reader (grovel, grovel)  are all looking at and I produced the top ten posts.  February was even busier with a 60% increase on the number of views in January and over 3000 views were recorded.

I must be doing something right!  But I still don’t know what blogging and twitter is all about and how useful it could be.  I even attended a social media conference in Liverpool run by #socialXchange which was genuinely thought-provoking but I’m still none the wiser as to all the tricks and tips everyone seems to be using on Twitter.  I also had much more work to do in February consisting of the usual challenging of the massive knowledge and commissioning deficit in local councils towards support providers under SP, so I had less time to blog.  It is all the more encouraging that the blog views increased so much.  Anyway, I’m digressing again and the table for February is below.

Table 1 – February 2012

Home page

  •   Just some brief info



Latest HB   figures – lies, delusion and the future of the PRS

  •   A picture of HB over the last 3 years (Nov 08 to Nov 11)
  •   The significant increase of private sector in housing benefit claimants and ironically further on why this will do the opposite in the next few years



The Great Affordable Rent Con

  •   Why affordable rent is not affordable and the cost to the public purse



Biting arses in the bedroom – the underoccupation tax

  •   Why the under-occupation tax will cost more
  •   Why social landlords will have to get off their backside and challenge



Shapps resigns and Jim Hacker takes over

  •   Yes Minister part 1
  •   A brief overview of Shapps bizarre housing policies
  •   How DWP not CLG are in control of housing policy



Private Tenants Beware – Coalition plans to shaft you

  •   Why private landlords will flee the ‘benefit claimant’ market
  •   And why they have no choice



Why the benefit cap will COST £billions and not save a penny

  •   Yet more figures explaining the incompetence of government housing policy
  •   Note well HB officers role in Universal Credit – lawyers going to love this huge   increase in work for them
  •   Why Universal Credit is so fundamentally flawed and policy on the fly



Heres the real privilege Mr Shapps

  •   Finally you read about supported housing!!!!!!
  •   Supported housing the vocation – general needs housing just a job



LHA rent freeze will be annual – a further new and important   update

  •   So many reasons why the DWP have totally fucked housing policy



Arses and elbows – LHA rent freeze for 2012/13 HAS been   announced

  •   Some further comments on how DWP policy will lead to increased cost and increased homelessness



Rented Housing RIP

  •   The non-humorous version of Yes Minister above




Firstly thank you for your views and all the retweets.  I don’t say this on twitter as somehow it seems colluded to me.  Yes I see the mutual benefit and business reasons for this but it just doesn’t seem right.  I’m genuinely thankful and appreciative of the views and perhaps just thanking you all once a month is me being lazy!!

The first thing to note in the February views is that I’ve included the top 11 rather than the top ten.  The reason for this is that number 11 and number 5 are essentially the same blog.  ‘Rented Housing RIP’ at 11 was reworded as a Yes Minister sketch entitled ‘Shapps resigns and Jim Hacker takes over’ – whether ‘Shapps resigns’ grabbed your attention and you clicked or whether you prefer (alleged) humour as a way of getting points across I don’t know. Though I have received some very appreciative comments on the Yes Minister version and yes I will be issuing more of the same shortly.  Add both views together and the issues they contain come to the most viewed post.

Undoubted the LHA rent freeze has been the big issue this month.  The impact of this is finally getting out to the wider housing sector with Inside Housing having many articles on why the private sector landlords will increasingly not accept benefit claimants.  My apparent tardiness in releasing this post today allows me to include the fact that official figures released today show that homelessness due to ending ASTs in the private sector has shown a huge increase in the last year.  The significant increase in this that WILL happen next year will make these already worrying figures seem tame by comparison I predict.

Finally ‘Biting arses in the bedroom’ (No 4 above) is the beginning of what will be an increasing trend I suggest.  Social landlords will have to be more openly critical of Coalition housing policy and will have to stick their heads above the parapet on an increasing basis.  It will be interesting to see how they go about this and how the private sector landlord increasingly shunning the benefit claimant, as that is how the market will react, places social landlords in a stronger negotiating position with government as increasingly they will be the only ones that can accommodate benefit claimants.  Such increased demand on social landlords will have many aspects to watch out for.  How will allocation policies change for example?  Will social housing be looked upon as the housing of last choice and a residual sector to house even more of the ‘feckless’ as this Coalition likes to call them? Will social landlords get an even bigger housing plus / community champion role such as increased involvement on supporting employment initiatives etc? Or will they be more choosy on how they allocate?  Will these changes highlight the increasing need for more housing-related support and expose the inadequacies of the current SP funding regime so often seen as discretionary funding by councils? 

I’ll leave it on that point as the supported housing sector need to demonstrate that they are not just another victim of cuts and no different from any other area of spending.  So far they have failed in that and simply decry the ‘race to the bottom’ of local council driving down price and ignoring quality or indeed the real benefits or cost benefits supported housing provides. God forbid the great and the good in supported housing may even realise that their reliance on SP outputs, which they call outcomes, is just never going to work. 

Apologies dear reader I really am getting incredibly naive aren’t I?


January Table below

Table 1 – January 2012




Home page

Just some brief info



Shapps latest knee-jerk wheeze – Plenty of FreeSpace between   Shapps ears!

Downsizing – Shapps lauds programme that doesn’t   work!



RTB? – You   kept these DIA consequences quiet Minister?

Shapps buries 41% council rent hike in draft impact assessment on RTB



Playing the system my arse – welfare benefit myths

A detailed riposte to the usual all on benefits are scroungers



Why the benefit cap will COST £billions and not save a penny

Check the figures – not a £290m saving but a multi-billion pound increase!



HB cost – Cameron lies to Parliament at PMQs

Self-explanatory – an obvious lie easily proved



Shapps Private rent plans – bizarre and unworkable

Laughable, risible and plans for the convergence of social and private rent



Now its Philippa Roe misleading on HB – AKA doing a Cameron

Tory sycophant forgets to say 59% of Westminster private tenants may have to move out of area – Benefit Diaspora



Latest HB figures – Hey Landlord you want 23% more income?

£6.7bn of HB goes unclaimed according to official   figures



Universal Credit MUST fail

Even the theory is flawed and will cost billions more per year







The cost of NOT regulating the private rented sector


The £2.3bn per year excess we pay to unregulated private landlords





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