England: Parliament committee launch inquiry into future of housing associations



Clive Betts MP
Clive Betts MP

The UK Parliament’s communities and local government (CLG) committee has announced an inquiry into the viability and sustainability of housing associations in England.

The inquiry will look at the proposed extension of Right to Buy and how this and a number of other government measures may impact on the ability of housing associations to build and develop.

It will look to take lessons learned from the earlier experience of the Right to Buy, including the experience of Scotland where the policy will end for all council and housing association tenants on 1 August 2016.

The Housing Bill, to be published later this year, will enable the extension of the Right to Buy to housing association tenants, giving them the ability to buy their homes at a discount.

Clive Betts MP, chair of the communities and local government committee, said: “Providing people with a roof over their heads, and ensuring more homes are built, are central to our nation’s future. Uncertainty around the extension of the Right to Buy scheme, and issues arising from the impact of welfare reforms and from changes announced in the Budget, raise real questions about the future sustainability of housing associations. Our inquiry will examine the effect on housing associations, and particularly their ability to house their tenants and invest in building new homes, of government policies, including the extension of Right to Buy and the reduction in rental income announced in the Budget.”

The CLG committee is seeking evidence on the following points:

Proposals on the Right to Buy

  • the type and quality of housing stock covered by the extension;
  • the geographical distribution of housing association properties covered by the scheme;
  • what the effect on the availability of affordable homes will be, and whether any projections have been carried out;
  • the steps that could be taken to minimize the effect on the availability of social housing;
  • the ability of those eligible for the policy to buy their own homes and keep up mortgage repayments,
  • the availability of financial education for prospective buyers, including advice to prospective leaseholders about their responsibilities for paying for major works;
  • the approach of mortgage lenders to the scheme;
  • proposals for the replacement of the homes sold, including the proposal for funding replacement through the sale of council homes in high value areas;
  • lessons learned from the earlier experience of the Right to Buy, including the experience of Scotland.

Proposals in the Budget

  • what the effects will be on housing associations of the cap on rents;
  • what the effects will be on housing associations of changes in housing benefit for younger people;
  • what the effects will be on housing associations of other proposals in the Budget.

Welfare reform proposals

  • what the effects have been on housing associations of changes to the welfare system in the last Parliament; and
  • what the effects will be on housing associations of the proposed changes to the welfare system.

Other issues

  • the role of the Regulation Committee of the Homes and Communities Agency; and
  • the accounting consequences for the national debt of the government’s proposals.

Deadline for submissions

Written evidence should be submitted by Friday 28 August 2015. To submit evidence, visit this page.



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