This coalition relaunched the Right to Buy programme (RTB2) a few years back with assurances and pledges that one new social housing property would be built to replace each one sold with the massively increased discounts that RTB2 brought.
Today Inside Housing run an article on how the coalition very, very conveniently made a mistake in stating how many new units had been built!! The CLG at first saying it was 4,795 homes and today they ’embarrassingly’ admit this to be just 2,298. Inside Housing even put it a nonsensical line graph of the 4,795 and 2,298 and YET AGAIN Inside Housing miss the real issue.
The same article says 29,000 social homes have been sold under RTB2 yet fail to comment on that figure in comparison to the 2,298 figure.
The coalition assurances and pledges of a 1 for 1 replacement has become just 8 properties replaced out of every 100 sold as that is what 2,298 replaced for 29,000 sold off on the cheap means.
The Inside Housing article apart from NOT commenting that only 8 social housing properties have been replaced for every 100 sold under RTB2 also mention that the ‘brilliant’ CIH found this out and IH praise the CIH for finding this out and the CIH and quote Gavin Smart of the CIH saying:
This surprising revision makes it clear that the number of replacement homes being built is nowhere near the number being sold
Nowhere near is about as much as a reprimand as the ultra conservative CIH will ever get. Such a vague and woolly comment from CIH is, regrettably, to be expected. Where is the massive condemnation for this reckless policy that is making the chronic national shortage of social housing much worse.
I would have settled for a simple only 1 in every 12.6 properties sold off are being replaced.
Or even 92% of RTB properties are not being replaced
Factual, correct and damning. Yet even IH and CIH could not even be bothered to report that fact!
Oh dear this ‘online blogger’ has upset Inside Housing yet again who, once again, spit out their proverbial dummy on Twitter over any criticism of them however deserved. They also get into some remarkable claims to defend themselves against the temerity of this mere ‘online blogger’ as they refer to me…
Different graphs show SAME?
The IH graph compares the 4,799 and 2,298 figures. Mine shows the 29,000 sold versus 2,998 replaced and are entirely different things.
Then IH claim I am misrepresenting the governments 1:1 commitment by saying:
How I am supposed to have misrepresented IH do not say they just make the claim that I have misrepresented the 1:1 replacement promise. Oh but hang on (a) what was this promise and was it more than a promise, and (b) what did IH say about this when it first came to light?
Yes above is IH quoting the then Housing Minister Grant Shapps saying it is a COMMITMENT (not a mere promise) and that “…every additional home that is sold WILL be replaced by a new affordable home on a one-for one basis”
That is pretty definitive language that I have allegedly misrepresented IH – The exact same thing YOU published too.
Let’s really be absolutely pedantic about this. A replacement for every ADDITIONAL home sold through RTB2. Is IH saying that the 1 for 8 actually replacement means 7 out of each RTB sold would have happened anyway under RTB1 and that RTB2 (ie trebling of discounts) only led to a one-seventh or circa 14% increase in overall RTB sales!!
Affordable? Let’s assume pedantically that this means AR [Affordable (sic) Rent] units. Then we can say that IH failed to even report on the 102% increase in AR units last year as recorded by the official housing regulator the HCA and especially not on the fact that 2 in every 3 AR units were NOT new build – ie built in response. These 2 in every 3 AR units were existing properties that social landlords ‘converted’ from social rent into AR properties and increased and received circa £130 million more in rent for doing so as I reported (but IH did not!) here
Yes that means a social tenant paying a social rent left or was evicted and then replaced in 67% of cases with a new tenant suddenly paying the so-called much higher ‘affordable’ (sic) rent. You can see how the coaltion’s AR scheme incentivised social landlords to evict the bedroom tax or other arrears tenant to take advantage of a much higher AR rent.
How dare I say that chirped the well-known far right Tory councillor John Moss. Social landlords can’t evict the social tenant to install the AR tenant. Yet the figures, sorry let me be precise, the OFFICIAL figures of the OFFICIAL social housing regulator prove that is what has happened.
To save you looking and to keep the argument all in one place here is an extract of my blog over AR and how two-thirds were not new build at all but simply the social tenant leaves (which can be evicted) and that social rent property is replaced with an affordable (sic) rent property at much higher rents. It also includes a very revealing graph from Shelter that supports this argument fully.
Note how just the simple recognition of the colours red and blue in 2013/14 reveals all the above to be true and valid and constructive criticism of the coalition policy with fact (which of course explains why it wasn’t reported in Inside Housing!)
In summary, Inside Housing journalists have regularly complained over this ‘online blogger’ attacking them and used the constant line that they are just reporting news, or new news, as they did again today. The reality is Inside Housing choose to print whatever ‘news’ suits their pro-coalition (we wouldn’t dare criticise any government position?) agenda.
Ask, in this case, what is the housing story here. Is it that the coalition government however ‘conveniently’ understated the number of RTB replacements as IH maintain
- the horrendous impact upon social housing of just 1 in 8 council homes sold off at a hugely inflated discount that does not allow councils to replenish due to lack of money and,
- makes the universally admitted shortage of social housing stock much worse and,
- reveals this coalition government has failed to keep commitments (not promises) and,
- frankly do not know what the hell they are doing other than buying votes and transferring more stock to the great property owning democracy for political purposes, and,
- is once more attacking the social housing model and cornerstone of the welfare state?
What was that you said IH we are talking about the same thing? Really?
Just a different emphasis? Really?
Dear reader, almost two years ago Inside Housing published, with glee, a professional character assassination attempt on my advocating that every bedroom tax household should appeal it and has a legitimate right to appeal the bedroom tax. This was an article written by the former owners of Inside Housing, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and was simply scurrilous. You can glean from that my comments above are aimed at Inside Housing generally and collectively and not at Pete Apps (who from memory joined after this disgraceful article?)
I proved both IH and CIH wrong and so much so that in January this year the CIH went full circle and advocated as I have always done that social landlords should support their tenants to appeal the bedroom tax.
I have no personal axe to grind with Inside Housing per se, except generally if you give it out then you are going to get it back and at least have the balls to recognise that.
What issue I do have is entirely professional and in a social housing context. Inside Housing will not challenge this coalition governments housing policy as they are scared to do so. They highly selectively cover housing issues and just like the convenience of CLG in understating the figures above, IH ‘conveniently’ fails to report on very significant housing issues and news – as above and in the 2 in every 3 AR units which are NOT new build as but one example stated here.
Regardless of whether that explanation of ‘issues’ I have with this monopolistic housing news outlet you agree with or not, read the very constructive criticism of the subjective selectivity of what IH choose to believe is ‘news’ and take account of what they try to do to anyone who has the temerity to disagree with them as well.
Inside Housing, in the main, dwells in a windowless Ivory Tower. It is time the ‘sector’ recognised this bias and selective and politically motivated allegedly impartial ‘news’ reporting it has increasingly offered up over the last two years particularly. Think Telegraph and HSBC when it comes to CIH and IH. Think ‘advertising revenue’ when IH abjectly fails to comment on AR and £130 million more pa in rent for social landlords. Think ownership of Ocean Media Group when considering political objectivity IH claims in its ‘news’ reporting.
Nobody is objective. I choose not to hide my politically left views and I definitely do not hide my agenda of support for the social housing model that IH claims to support as that is its industry. So when Inside Housing goes on the attack at anyone having the temerity to criticise them, however constructively, well lets just say its time IH put some glass in their Ivory Towers and stopped practising the pathetically inadequate attack the messenger strategy.
Grow up IH and grow a set!
UPDATE 25 February
Irony can be so…er…ironic cant it! After the big headline from Inside Housing stating the government massively overestimated figures we see a correction in the IH article which says:
UPDATE: 24.02.2015 at 12.45pm
The copy was updated to correct an error in paragraph 5. According to the numbers released today, 26,185 homes have been sold since April 2012, not 29,000.
Oh dear it seems Inside Housing overestimated too by 2,815 RTB2 sales or by nearly 11% and then today their lead story is to name and shame those councils which did overestimate new starts too rather than focus on the now just 9% replacements or 1 in every 11 rather than the 1 for 1 replacement which is, yes you guessed it, absent from this revised and new article too.
It seems IH have grown a set and become even more pro coalition and even more biased in their, ahem, “news” reporting!
Even better in Inside Housing’s daily blog feature and without any irony whatsoever they report this
Double checking figures!