Social housing health of the sector 2016

    In our ninth year of production, we look back over the last 12 months capturing the opinions and sentiments of those working in the sector, providing insight and context into how RPs across the country are preparing for the next 12 months and beyond. The fieldwork represents the views and opinions of 131 respondents from across England, Wales and Scotland.

    Overview

    Overview and summary of findings

    Welfare reform is yet to really have the negative impact on the sector that many have been expecting, but there is real concern that further changes to be implemented during 2016 will cause problems for the sector. 

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    Economic viewpoints

    The British economy took some time to get moving again after the financial crisis, but it has now grown in every quarter since the start of 2013. The economic outlook is, on the whole, positive, we analyse why this is not a view shared by many RPs across the country.

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    Views on current housing policy

    Some £60bn of housing association debt was reclassified as public in October 2015 when the Office for National Statistics (ONS) deemed associations to be public sector bodies. The government is now seeking to reverse this decision, which seemingly has the backing of most of the sector.

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    Sector implications

    Over the last couple of years tenants have been well protected from cost saving measures, with the majority of RPs reluctant to reduce tenant services. In our 2015 survey just 19 per cent of respondents had made or were considering making cuts in this area, however fast forward 12 months and tenant services are now looking much more vulnerable.

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    Strategic actions

    We’ve seen many RPs put cost reductions plans in place since the July 2015 Budget announcements. RPs are still developing but there is evidence of a change in focus. 

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    Funding and development

    We’ve seen funding to build affordable housing decrease over recent years. In the early nineties grants met 75 per cent of the cost of each new home. By 2010 this had fallen to 40 per cent and it is now only 14 per cent. We take a closer look at the sector’s development plans for 2016 and beyond.

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    Overview

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