Homelessness minister doesn’t know why homelessness has risen!

“The UK’s new homelessness minister has told the Guardian she does not know why the number of rough sleepers has increased so significantly in recent years. Heather Wheeler said she did not accept the suggestion that welfare reforms and council cuts had contributed to the rise.” …


“Boris Johnson defends playing tennis match with wife of former Putin minister in exchange for £160,000 Tory donation”

… “Mr Johnson insisted not all Russians should be tarred with the same brush – and there was nothing wrong with accepting Russian cash if donors were not guilty of “gross corruption”. …”

Good use of the word “gross” there – minor or moderate us absolutely fine then?

He goes on:

“If there is evidence of gross corruption in the way that gentleman you mentioned obtained his wealth, then it is possible for our law enforcement agencies to deprive him of his wealth.

“That is a matter for the authorities, it is not a matter for me. …”

Again that clever and calculated use of the adjective!

“Mr Johnson admitted for the first time today that the tennis match happened.

Since then Ms Chernukhin’s total of cash donations to the Tories since 2012 has climbed to almost £500,000.”

Last month she bid £30,000 for a meal and private tour of Churchill’s War Rooms with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson at the Tories’ lavish Black and White Ball fundraiser. … “


“100,000 low-cost homes have had rents hiked since 2012”

“Labour has unveiled plans to stem the loss of low-cost homes as new analysis reveals more than 100,000 social homes have been converted into a more expensive type of property in the last six years alone.

The party said it would scrap a policy introduced by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government in 2012 that forces housing associations and local councils to raise rents by an average of 40 per cent by converting social homes into “affordable homes”.

The announcement is the second to come out of Labour’s review into the future of social housing, which is likely to report in the coming weeks.

It comes as analysis seen by The Independent revealed the huge loss of social homes largely as a result of a change made by the coalition. …

While social rents are generally around 40 per cent of market value, affordable homes can cost up to 80 per cent of market rents, prompting criticism that in many parts of country they are out of the reach of people on ordinary incomes. …

The coalition made the conversion of low-cost social homes into affordable homes a key plank of its housing policy.

An official document from 2011 explaining the Government’s approach said: “The conversion of existing stock to affordable rent is a crucial element in generating additional financial capacity and it is anticipated that it will be integral to the offer that providers bring forward as part of their proposals for funding new supply.”

The change was made despite the Government’s own impact assessment making it clear that forcing the conversion of social housing into affordable housing would result in “greater costs to Government through increases in housing benefit”, although this was forecast to be offset by cuts to housing spending. …

At the same time as the change was made, Government funding for new social housing was ended entirely and instead diverted to fund “affordable” homes.

As a result, the number of new, Government-funded social homes has plummeted by 97 per year since 2010, with just 1,102 new homes completed last year – funded via existing programmes set up before 2010. …

About 102,000 homes have been converted since 2012, while around 60,000 have been sold to tenants under Right to Buy.

Only around 50,000 new social homes have been built in that time – the vast majority funded by housing associations. …”


Seaton and Area Health Matters meeting, Friday 23 March 9 am1 pm – registration required

From the blog of DCC East Devon Alliance councillor Martin Shaw:

“A reminder to all involved in local community groups, especially those with an interest in health and wellbeing in the broadest senses, that Seaton and Area Health Matters will convene in the Town Hall on Friday 23rd March, 9 for 9.30 until 1 pm. There is still time to register!

Book here:


You are invited to participate in this community led event with key stakeholders around the future health and wellbeing of all the people in our communities, in response to the new landscape affecting Seaton and surrounding area as a result of NHS and Government policies advocating Place-Based Care in health provision and cross-sector collaborative working with community groups

The aim: To discuss what we know, where there are gaps/challenges and how, as a community we will address these to ensure collaborative approaches to co-design and co-produce local health services/activities that meet the needs of all the people in our communities.

Invitees: Management and senior level employees and volunteers / trustees from community, voluntary and social enterprise sector as well as public and private organisations.

Area to include: Seaton, Colyford & Colyton, Beer, Axmouth, Branscombe


Welcome: Mayor of Seaton – Cllr Jack Rowland

Community Context:
• Dr Mark Welland – Chairman of Seaton & District Hospital League of Friends
• Roger Trapani – Community Representative, Devon Health and Care Forum
• Charlotte Hanson – Chief Officer, Action East Devon

Strategic and Services Overview – Place Based Care:
• Em Wilkinson-Bryce – Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
• Chris Entwistle – Health and Social Care Community Services
• Dr Jennie Button – Social Prescribing Lead – Ways 2 Wellbeing project in Seaton

Workshop, Networking and Discussion will form the main part of this event:
• Workshop 1 – What is working well and what are the challenges for Seaton and surrounding area?
• Workshop 2 – Working together to improve health and wellbeing outcomes? What support do we need?”

Reminder – Seaton and Area Health Matters meeting in Seaton Town Hall on Friday 23rd from 9.