Rental repossessions increase in Devon

Concerns have been raised following an increase this year in the number of people in Devon having their homes repossessed.

Figures from Citizens Advice Exeter show an overall 3.8 per cent increase in the number of housing repossession cases listed at Exeter County Court in the six month period ending September 30. This is in comparison to the same period in 2016.

Steve Barriball, Citizens Advice Exeter chief executive, said: “In the last six months there were 296 cases listed for repossession, an overall 3.8 per cent increase, or 11 cases, on the previous year. However, there was a small reduction in mortgage repossessions, which were down by four cases.

“The biggest increase was in housing association repossessions, up by 12.7 per cent. There were further increases of 2.7 per cent in private rented sector cases and 1.8 per cent in local authority actions.

“For the last few years we have seen the headline number of cases listed for repossession level out. Therefore, these latest figures are concerning. …

Working parents in south-west can’t keep up with childcare costs

“The cost of childcare has risen four times faster than wages in Devon, according to new findings.

The TUC (Trades Union Congress) has highlighted the ‘childcare gap’ for parents with one-year-olds, according to new analysis published by the TUC.

The average wages of South West parents with a one-year-old child rose by 11 per cent in cash terms – although pay is still falling in real terms – between 2008 and 2016.

Over the same period childcare costs shot up by 44 per cent. …

In the South West, the TUC says:

A single parent working full-time with a one-year-old in nursery for 21 hours a week (21 hours is the median amount of childcare used per week for pre-school age children) spent 22% of their wages on childcare in 2016, up from 18% in 2008.

One parent working full-time and one parent working part-time with a one-year-old in nursery for 21 hours a week spent 14% of their salary on childcare in 2016, up from 12% in 2008.

Two parents working full-time with a one-year-old in nursery for 21 hours a week spent 11% of their wages on childcare in 2016, up from 9% in 2008.

The analysis also shows pressure is even greater on parents working full-time, especially single parents. A single mum or dad in the South West with a young child in nursery for 40 hours a week would need to spend more than two-fifths (41%)of their pay on childcare.

To address this increasing pressure on working families, the TUC is calling for universal free childcare from the end of maternity leave. They also want more government funding for local authorities to provide nurseries and child care and a greater role for employers in funding childcare.”

Swire’s recent preoccupations: bolshie young people and Nay Pyi Taw

Recent questions and comments in Parliament

It seems that Swire still thinks politics is mired in the Russian revolution and that he is still at the Foreign Office.

Or, is he just toadying up to Boris in case Bojo becomes Leader and has promised great things to (only a select few of) those who might support him in this aim?

Bolshie young people not thinking the Tory way:

“A hundred years ago this month saw the start of the Russian revolution, which unleashed misery and purges against millions of Russian people. Although we are right to remind future generations and younger people about the evils of the past, for example through Holocaust Memorial Day, does my right hon. Friend agree that we owe it to the younger generation to educate them about the warped and failed Marxist-Leninist ideology that continues to unleash misery across the world? People should be very worried about that.”
[Boris Johnson replied in whole-hearted agreement]

Myanmar – Muslims in Burma

Hugo Swire: The hon. Lady makes an extremely good point about nationality, except that the British Government have shown to the Government in Nay Pyi Taw evidence kept in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office referring to a Muslim population in that part of what is now Burma going back many hundreds of years.”

Many councils fail to replace social housing lost to right to buy

Dozens of councils have failed to replace a single home sold off under the Tories ’ Right to Buy in the last year.

Shock figures show at least 32 town halls lost homes under the controversial scheme without starting a single direct replacement.

A further 15 councils didn’t record a single new home but had some data missing in government figures.

The analysis said 12,383 council homes were sold overall under Right to Buy between July 2016 and June 2017 – but just 4,813 (38%) were replaced in the same period.

The figures are an embarrassment for Theresa May after she summoned housebuilding giants to Downing Street to “fix the broken housing market.”

Bosses of Barratt, Redrow and Taylor Wimpey were among more than 20 developers who met the Prime Minister ahead of measures expected in next month’s budget.

The official government statistics, compiled by the Lib Dems, show Leicester City Council sold off 398 homes under the scheme from July 2016 to June 2017.

Yet the council did not make a single ‘start on site’ of replacement homes in the same period, the figures show.

Hull, Wigan and Doncaster all also sold more than 170 homes in the 12-month period without starting any direct replacements.

Councils had warned they were too cash-strapped to replace homes like-for-like when the Tories announced they would extend Right to Buy to housing associations in 2015.

Local Government Association housing spokesman Martin Tett said: “Councils only keep a third of all receipts from homes sold under Right to Buy.

“Further complex rules and restrictions mean councils are struggling to rapidly replace them.

“It is vital that councils are able to retain 100% of receipts from any council homes they sell.”

Leicester City Council assistant mayor Andy Connelly said Right to Buy had cut the city’s housing stock from 1,500 to 1,200 in just two years – and cost £1.6m in lost rent last year.”

Lack of home care keeps elderly in hospital longer

But, but, but – hospitals are fined for bed-blocking!!! Except in East Devon – where there are almost no beds to block. Which makes you wonder how early-discharge elderly people are really coping.

“Older people spent twice as long stuck in hospital waiting for home help last year compared with five years ago, according to analysis by Age UK.

Patients spent a total of a million nights in hospital because they were waiting for social care of one kind or another in 2016-17, up 27 per cent on the year before, the charity’s report said.

Some 342,000 of these nights were spent waiting for care in their own homes, up from 144,000 in 2011-12. The official figures are considered to be an underestimate, with NHS and council leaders arguing over who is to blame.

Doctors and academics said separately that families should urge elderly relatives to take the stairs and go for walks to help them carry on living independently.

Writing in The BMJ, they also said that hospitals must encourage elderly patients to walk around wards and perform chair-squats to halt dangerous declines that condemn them to care homes.

Scarlett McNally, an orthopaedic surgeon and lead author, said that there had been too much discussion of how to pay for social care and not enough on how to avoid the need for it in the first place. “Loss of fitness is not inevitable,” she said.

Nights in hospital cost about five times as much as a care home. Help at home with tasks such as washing and dressing is cheaper again.

Plans to reform social care have been delayed until next year after Theresa May dropped an election campaign pledge to require older people to pay more towards their care, widely dubbed a “dementia tax”.

Caroline Abrahams of Age UK said that the charity’s analysis showed the “impact of our failing social care system on the NHS, as well as on older people”, adding that it cost the taxpayer more than £173 million last year. She said that more people were “marooned” in hospital, risking infection and losing muscle while they were fit to leave.

The Local Government Association said that 60 per cent of delays were due to the NHS, adding: “Councils are doing all they can to try and help people live independently . . . But with unprecedented funding cuts since 2010 and social care services facing a £2.3 billion funding gap by 2020, this is becoming increasingly difficult.”

David Oliver, vice-president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “Some delays are due to systematic cuts to social care budgets and provision. Others are due to a serious lack of capacity in community healthcare services.”

Times (pay wall)