Housing associations ‘bedazzled’ by lure of greater profits, think tank claims
Published by Brian Church for 24dash.com in Housing
Winter repair bills for landlords set to soar
Housing associations have been blasted 100 times over by think tank Million Homes, Millions Lives. Its latest report claims that some had become "bedazzled" by the lure of greater profits and that almost 20,000 social homes could have been built with better priorities.
Natalie Elphicke and Calum Mercer, in 'A Better Deal for Nation Rent', said housing association profits have increased tenfold between 2009 and 2013 and that, if housing associations had invested in social homes instead of commercial activities, there could have been 18,500 extra such homes.
"Housing association profits soared to a record £1.93 billion last year, nearly 10 times bigger than five years previously," Mercer said. "The excess profit has been made by housing associations raising rents above inflation, while costs, management, maintenance and debt service interest payments have been broadly flat in real terms. Some housing associations have spent £2.4 billion on other business ventures which have had lower profit margins than social housing. That money could have been spent on building 18,500 extra social homes, or reducing rents."
In even stronger comments Natalie Elphicke said: "Housing associations need to follow their guiding principles and not become bedazzled by the prospect of greater and greater profits. Every board member of a housing association should consider their social mission: Are they doing all they can to help the least well off after the deepest recession in recent times?"