With so much going on in the world of housing at the moment, it was good to have some time off over the Christmas period to pause and reflect on the previous 12 months but also try to predict what the new year is going to bring us.
One thing is for certain, times are still difficult for many housing organisations and their tenants and I’m not sure the glut of new policies that come into effect this year are going to help. What does need to happen, however, is for the sector to embrace the change, take a positive approach and do its best for the sake of every single person working in housing and the millions who rely on it for a decent roof over their heads.
As the National Housing Federation well knows, trying to fight the Government over its plans for housing is a pretty pointless exercise and while it’s important to take a stand on key issues such as the under-occupancy charges or choice over direct benefit payments, these can only ever amount to relatively minor victories in the grand scheme of things. As each Bill passes into law, so it becomes harder to resist change.
Of course, the one man primarily responsible for steering Government housing policy is Grant Shapps and we are delighted to be running the first exclusive column he has written for us in this month’s magazine. In it he talks about the various policies outlined in the recent Housing Strategy and looks ahead to 2012 including his plans for a new competition for ‘locally-planned, large-scale developments’. Find out more on page 23. Also writing for the first time in this issue is the Housing Minister’s Labour counterpart Jack Dromey, who in the few months he has been in the role has already proved a formidable opponent.
For all of you who despair at where Mr Shapps and the Government is going, reading The Voice column this month may just be the tonic you are after (page 22). January also sees the official launch of our Young Leaders Award for 2012. For full details on how to enter and what’s in store for our shortlisted candidates turn to page 38 or visit www.24dash.com/campaigns
Editor, 24housing Magazine