News bites 17 February 2017

Welcome to News Bites, your update on the week's most important news from the housing sector and beyond. Please send any news items you spot, comments or feedback to

HCA publishes Global Accounts

The 2016 Global Accounts gives an annual overview of the financial status of the social housing sector.

It is based on analysis of the regulatory financial returns and statements that are submitted by private registered providers managing or owning 1,000 or more homes.

This year it shows that the social housing sector has had a solid year of investment underpinned by strong in-year financial performance.

For the first time, it has set out group as well as entity level data providing a clearer view of activity, such as open market sales, which typically takes place in unregistered subsidiaries.

NHF makes submission to budget

The NHF has made a submission to the March Budget setting out three key areas of the industrial strategy that HAs can support and that measures in the Budget could power:

  1. Cultivating world-leading sectors – foster greater innovation, responsiveness and impact by giving housing associations rent freedom
  2. Upgrading infrastructure – class housing as infrastructure and release land for housing associations to build
  3. Driving growth across the whole country – a renewed focus on regeneration that frees up housing associations to do more

To support this housing associations match £6 of private investment for every £1 of public money, offer flexibility in the way they use their existing resources and guarantee that all profits are reinvested in homes and communities.

over 240 housing providers sign up to sector scorecard pilot

Housing associations covering more than half of all housing association stock have signed up to a pilot of pioneering efficiency metrics being developed by the sector.

They have pledged to take part in a pilot scheme of the ‘Sector Scorecard’, which is designed to establish a recognised set of benchmarking criteria for the sector.

Over the next year, these providers, which jointly own more than 1.5 million homes, will record data against 15 different criteria to provide a benchmarking service.

The housing regulator is understood to be considering using the metrics in its assessment of housing associations’ Value for Money. The project has been backed by housing minister Gavin Barwell and was referenced in last week’s Housing White Paper.

4 million more people living on inadequate incomes in modern Britain

Four million more people are living below an adequate standard of living and are just about managing at best, according to an authoritative report on living standards in modern Britain.

The new research for the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) sheds light on how different kinds of household are faring, against the Minimum Income Standard (MIS).

MIS is a benchmark of income adequacy, as defined by what the public think is needed for a decent living standard. It is calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) at Loughborough University.

It warns that millions of just managing families are on the tipping point of falling into poverty as prices rise in the shops, with forecasts showing the cost of living could be 10 per cent higher by 2020.

Help to buy having an impact

One in three new build properties outside London were bought through a flagship scheme for first-time buyers, but just one in 10 in the capital, analysis by BBC News shows.

The Help to Buy Equity Loan was introduced to boost the housing market. A property expert said the scheme has had "little success" in London, where in some cases, loans of up to £190,000 have been taken up.

The government said it has helped buy more than 100,000 homes across England.

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