iContent is only available once this issue is no longer current.
This month’s ‘Power Players’ list is the single biggest piece of exclusive research ever carried out for this magazine. At a time when the world of housing is changing beyond all recognition, it represents an important snapshot of those individuals who are indelibly shaping the future housing landscape – for better or worse.
Perhaps unsurprisingly government ministers dominate the top 50. Five feature in the top 10 alone. And while Grant Shapps and his colleagues may see this as an endorsement of their housing policies, the comments made by the survey’s respondents - housing association chief executives, politicians, commentators, lawyers, academics and frontline managers - tell a quite different story. To find out who came where and what the sector had to say about them turn to our special pull-out supplement starting on page 33.
For those more concerned with the policies these influential individuals inflict on the sector, there should be plenty elsewhere in this edition to keep you happy.
As welfare reform and localism legislation start to become reality, we asked Neil Merrick to investigate the likely impact the scrapping of the Housing Revenue Account and the shift to self-financing is going to have on councils and in particular their ambitions to build more homes to address acute housing need in their locality.
Meanwhile, Kate Murray looks at the different financial approaches social landlords are taking in order to deliver their development programmes over the next few years amid fears that grant funding from government may be scrapped altogether in the not too distant future. With Grant Shapps asking people to judge him on the ‘gold standard’ of building more homes – can the sector really do more with less and ultimately keep the Housing Minister in a job?
At least the Government seems aware of the predicament we find ourselves in. And while George Osborne was never likely to throw money at the sector during last month’s Budget, there was one announcement that provided some cheer.
Offering the social housing sector the opportunity to establish Real Estate Investment Trusts provides potential benefits including tax breaks and the ability to access new streams of private investment. This has to be a good thing.
One note of caution though. Before housing associations decide to jump on the next funding bandwagon because they see it as their only option, I would urge they take a moment to consider what this actually means for them as an organisation. Working to a more commercial mindset is part and parcel of life under a Conservative government. Just don’t let it rip the soul out of what the sector does best and turn us into generic housebuilders. We’re more important than that.
Editor, 24housing Magazine