Local Government Jaws of doom Vs Almariddegn time in 2014 onwards


Please listen to this urgent message from Sir Albert Bore:

 

Well folks as Christmas and New Year approaches very soon many people will not be wiser if they will have a job for another day as living standards go down hill coupled by families turning to pay day lenders rather than turning up to foodbanks for help.

Already many councils across UK faced the prospect of the Jaws of Doom from 2010 to 2013 now as we fast approach 2014 this will be known as almariddegn time for Local Government.
Forgive me for thinking it’s now 2014 onwards as there is a reason for mentioning 2014 onwards this on two folds (as it must be my grey cells). Many will recall I said in my earlier post that Local Government will face the Jaws Of Doom from 2010-2013 as we all had an idea that Central Government will cut the funding to councils across the UK. I’m sure to many Councillors who have to set the budget with Central Government will no doubt from behind the scenes will inform you that they face with another task of witnessing part two Local Government armageddon time from 2014-2016 as Local Government will have no choice but to act in the spirit of the law to implement the dreaded cuts. This I kid you not whilst I have been informed by many Councillors from a cross party. Instead many Councillors are beginning to say that they will not recognize what local government as we now know it. Let’s take a look at the second largest city in the UK Birmingham City Council as one example how they had to adhere to the dreaded coalition cuts which has not been an easy task to implement as the previous Birmingham coalition did not implement Living Wage, single status, equal pay but decided to spend on so called grand projects in places like Sutton Coldfield and spend on doing up rich areas instead of given the fair share of money to other wards.

Sir Albert Bore promised immediate action in response to ideas put forward in the first ever Standing up for Birmingham public forum.

Speaking after the event at the Library of Birmingham, Sir Albert said: “I am extremely grateful to those who gave up their time to engage with the financial challenges the city faces in the years ahead. I’ve been told that today’s meeting was very positive and people have already shared many ideas about how communities can come together to make an even bigger contribution to the city.”

Responding directly to the priorities of those who took part, Sir Albert added: “Standing up for Birmingham is about communities and organisations coming together to tackle the challenges facing the city in a time of unprecedented cuts in public services. The City Council has a part to play but we will not succeed if we act alone. However I can commit the council to taking the following immediate steps:

  • Review regulations and red tape that cause difficulties for community and voluntary organisations trying to make a difference in their community
  • Develop new ways of building collaboration between public services and voluntary and community groups across the city – building on the work already done in the Fair Brum social inclusion process and by many other organisations
  • Re-launch our staff volunteering scheme and encourage City Council staff to participate in time banking
  • Support efforts to build awareness of the time banking schemes already operating in the city and encourage new ones.”

Now the biggest drop is living standards which according to some press are like the return of Victorian age in a large scale like low and middle earners suffering an unprecedented squeeze on their incomes as austerity measures come home to roost with part time worker which includes women are disproportionately affected.

It’s alleged around five million people are officially classified as low paid and wait for it an increasing number of public sector worker are struggling to make ends meet according to the New Economics Foundation Think-tank.

I’m sure after reading all what I have had to say now we have learnt that MPs are due for a 11% pay rise which works out to be roughly in the figure of £7,600 which is four times the current rate of inflation whilst living standards go down and whilst some of the lower and middle incomes has to depend on Foodbanks and others would not be caught dead in joining the queue but rather seek assistance from Pay Day Leaders who charge over the odds in interest rates so who is having a laugh all the way to the bank by sticking their tongue and two fingers at you.

The UK is not building enough homes, and in particular not enough affordable housing, despite a wide range of government initiatives.

Large numbers of households cannot afford access to decent quality housing without state support; and, although increasing amounts are being spent on housing benefits, less public funding is being invested in new and improved housing.

The UK needs to build about 245,000 homes a year between now and 2031 to keep pace with requirements; of which 80,000 should be affordable properties. However, less than half that figure is being built at the moment, as support for construction falls despite government efforts to encourage building.

Moreover, the scale of public investment in housing, which was just £2bn in 2010-11, is dwarfed by the costs of housing benefits at £20bn.

Housing investment in the UK has been low by international standards for decades. Measuring gross fixed capital formation in housing as a percentage of gross domestic product shows the UK has had lower levels of housing investment than most other advanced economies.

Research we conducted at the Centre for Comparative Housing Research at De Montfort University suggests we can look abroad for ways in which the government can tackle this crisis. Looking abroad challenges the way we provide housing, offers new ideas and fresh approaches to policies, and tells us about the impact of government housing initiatives in other countries.

In the early 1990s France adopted various incentives to developers to build more affordable homes. Under its main model, a developer puts together a package for building and managing a specific project – say a block of flats – within guidelines set by the government. Investors get tax breaks for buying this package from the developer, who also gets tax concessions by factoring these into the package.

As a result, more than 30,000 affordable housing units were built every year between 1994 and 2004 – more than a third of the private sector construction total. Today it accounts for more than half; with 60,000 homes being built under this scheme in 2010.

In the US, developers get tax credits if they build a project where a set percentage of households are on low incomes. Rents on these properties also have to be cheaper than market levels. The tax benefits last for at least 15 years, as long as the percentage of low income households remains the same. The developer then sells the tax credits on to investors, and in many cases there are private equity investors set up to trade in these.

Launched in the late 1980s, this scheme now accounts for 90% of affordable housing provision in the country, and it has helped build or renovate more than 2.5m properties.

Could conditional tax reliefs be used effectively in the UK? The major barrier is inertia. A desire to keep doing things in the same way as before will not result in large increases in housing investment. But we could invest more, and we could learn from other countries.

The government must allow councils in England and Wales to borrow more money to spend on building so they can tackle housing shortages, a report says.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said nine councils, with 40,000 people on accommodation waiting lists, were unable to take on any loans at all.

It said lifting a cap on borrowing would allow up to 60,000 new homes to be built in the next five years.

But the government said there was “no magic money tree”.

It added there was still a need to cut public borrowing to improve the performance of the economy.

In 2012 the Treasury capped the amount councils could borrow against ring-fenced housing budgets, set at different levels for each area.

However, the LGA urged Chancellor George Osborne to use Thursday’s Autumn Statement to lift the provision.

He should instead allow councils “to invest in housing under normal responsible borrowing guidelines”, it said, adding that “the investment would be very low-risk and paid many times over by future rents on new homes”.

Mike Jones, chairman of the LGA’s environment and housing board, said: “There are millions of people on social housing waiting lists and councils want to get on with the job of building the new homes that people in their areas desperately need.

“Local authorities have excellent credit ratings and we want to use our assets to help kick-start the housing recovery, but our hands are being tied.”

The LGA said the following authorities had been given no borrowing “headroom”:

  • Darlington Borough Council
  • Dudley Borough Council
  • Exeter City Council
  • Gosport Borough Council
  • Harrow Council
  • Royal Borough Greenwich Council
  • South Cambridgeshire District Council
  • Waverley Borough Council
  • Woking Borough Council

Mr Jones said: “The chancellor has an unrivalled opportunity to use this Autumn Statement to create jobs, provide tens of thousands of homes and help the economy without having to find a single extra penny.

“New homes are badly needed and councils want to get on with building them. The common sense answer is for the Treasury to remove its house building block and let us get on with it.”

Housing minister Kris Hopkins said: “As a lobbying organisation, the LGA need to realise that there is no magic money tree, and this government needs to cut public borrowing to keep interest rates down and ensure long-term economic growth.

“But under this government, the housing market has turned the corner, with house building now at its highest level since 2007, backed by up £19.5bn of public and private investment in affordable housing over the current spending review. The government will outline its broader approach in the Autumn Statement.”

The sad truth is as Christmas and New Year arrives as human beings we all want the best in the festive season some managed to stay in budget whilst others will say to hell with it. This is now to reflect what positive action you will take to get rid of this coalition by contacting your local Labour Party branch or regional office for the day of action as there is plenty to do so get ready to dust off your campaign jackets.

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