“Help to Buy mess as taxpayers subsidise thousands of homes for couples earning more than £100,000”

“Thousands of wealthy families are taking advantage of a taxpayer scheme designed to help struggling first-time buyers get on the housing ladder.

More than 6,700 households with incomes over £100,000 have bought homes using Help to Buy, according to the government’s own figures.

The scheme provides taxpayer cash to people seeking a mortgage. But despite its original aim to help people who could not afford big deposits, nearly one in 20 households with support have six-figure incomes.

And families with incomes of £50,000 or more have now received 40 per cent of loans, according to the report by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Of the families who used the scheme, 136,700 were first-time buyers. A fifth of families using the scheme were not first-time buyers.

There is no maximum income on the Help to Buy scheme, which applies to new-build homes.

The scheme allows house hunters to purchase new-builds worth up to £600,000 using deposits of only 5pc – or £30,000.

The Government loans up to another 20pc interest-free for five years – or £120,000. In London, the taxpayer loan can reach 40pc of the value of the property – or £240,000.

When the house is sold, the government takes the same proportion of the sale price. If it goes up, the government makes money. If it goes down, the taxpayer makes a loss.

Campbell Robb, Joseph Rowntree Foundation chief executive, said a lack of cash invested in affordable housing meant more pressure on families forced to rent.

A government spokesman said: ‘The majority of those using our Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme had household incomes of £50,000 or less.’ “

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6068919/Help-Buy-mess-taxpayers-subsidise-thousands-homes-couples-earning-100-000.html

“New Zealand bans sales of homes to [many] foreigners”

It can be done.

“New Zealand’s parliament has banned many foreigners from buying existing homes in the country – a move aimed at making properties more affordable.

The ban only applies to non-residents. Australians and Singaporeans are exempt because of free-trade deals.

New Zealand is facing a housing affordability crisis which has left home ownership out of reach for many.

Low interest rates, limited housing stock and immigration have driven up prices in recent years.

Is it a total ban?

No, only non-residents are affected by the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, which was passed in a 63-57 vote on Wednesday.

They are now banned from purchasing most types of homes – but they will be able to make limited investments in new apartments in large developments.
Foreigners with residency status in New Zealand – as well as non-resident Australian and Singaporean nationals – are not affected by the ban….”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-45199034

Fiddling while social housing burns

“When she first came to power Theresa May promised to address Britain’s “burning injustices”. A few weeks ago, MPs were asked to quietly drop the phrase. Tied up in the complications of Brexit, the government has done very little to help the poor and disadvantaged – those who voted in protest against their own circumstances in the referendum. Neglecting this group has not helped past governments, and this one seems to be making the same mistake.

A new green paper on social housing seems unlikely to buck the trend. It recognises that there is a problem with social housing, but fails to recognise the nature of that problem: that there simply needs to be more of it. Instead, it talks about making social housing “fairer”, and “better quality”, and “challenging the stereotypes that exist about residents and their communities”. It says, rather patronisingly, that no social housing tenant should feel a “stigma” about their situation. That is not the pressing issue.

There are almost 1.2 million people on the waiting list for social housing. As they wait, people are forced to pay rent they cannot afford, and as a consequence they cannot afford to buy food. It is no coincidence that the use of food banks in Britain is soaring. But the government is doing little to help. Experts say we need between 70,000 and 90,000 new homes for social housing a year to meet the need in England. Last year fewer than 6,000 were built – a record low. And there are no new funds in the offing to increase supply.

Instead, the green paper concentrates on initiatives such as league tables for social landlords, which it says will “rebalance the landlord/tenant relationship”. But even this is unlikely to work. With such a short supply of social housing, landlords at the bottom of the league aren’t going to suffer from a lack of interest. Neither is it going to be easy for social tenants to flit between houses, depending on their ratings. And social landlords aren’t really a problem either, as these tend to be housing associations or local councils, and bound by professional codes and regulations. Much more dubious are the amateur landlords in the private sector – able to chuck tenants out on a whim – which is where people end up when they cannot get social housing.

This is not the first time the government has tried to distract from a funding crisis by introducing new league tables: it has done this with universities, and rail operators, and lately with nursing and midwifery. It’s an underhand technique – an attempt to shift attention off the government and on to the competition, and to show that the system is at least working for some. But it’s time it started to address the real problems – and for houses that means more building.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/14/tories-houses-build-landlord-crisis-league-tables

“Elderly should be housed in luxury developments with spas to keep them out of care home”

Owl says: Just one problem – in the whole glowing article the cost of these homes is never mentioned! You can be quite sure these homes will be out of reach for “ordinary” (ie not rich) people – rather like all other new housing.

“Traditional care homes will be increasingly replaced by luxury developments with spas, hairdressers and beauty salons in a bid to keep pensioners independent for longer, ministers say today.

The Government plans will see £76 million invested annually for the next three years in new homes specially designed for those who are frail, elderly or suffering from disabilities.

Health officials said the plans aim to keep people independent for longer – with their own front door, but more support on hand, with use of sensors and video monitoring to track the most vulnerable.

Housing developers will be able to bid for funds, from the programme which has already seen £315 million allocated to projects which design such homes. …”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/08/13/elderly-should-housed-luxury-developments-spas-keep-care-homes/

A useful critique on new planning regulations (local councils stay silent on their views)

Why CPRE thinks it is a developers’ charter (again):

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/new-planning-policy-framework-slammed-1892197

Taylor Wimpey, Archant, EDDC and red dust in Littleham, Exmouth : “fake news”?

Below is information from an Exmouth resident sent to an Archant local reporter regarding development at Littleham, Exmouth, the “red dust” it is creating and its effect on a large number of frustrated residents.

The resident has received no reply to either email and the newspaper has not balanced its original mild article to reflect the information in these emails:

11 August 2018:

Ms Brainwood [Archant reporter who wrote original article]:

Further to my email from last week I write to inform you of the following. It has been noted by the way that you did not pay me the courtesy of a reply.

Local residents are quite rightly annoyed that your article gave false impressions.

You reported the following :

1. The only residents to be affected were two elderly people in Buckingham Close.
2. The only area affected was indeed Buckingham Close.
3. Taylor Wimpey were doing everything they could to minimise the red dust site vehicles generated.
4. EDDC were happy that the red dust was “ within limits “.
5. Environmental Health Officers from EDDC were quite happy with the overall situation.

The real situation could not be further from the truth.

If you had asked local residents they would have informed you the red dust was experienced in Littleham Road, Midway, The Crescent, Jarvis Close, The Broadway, Douglas Road and Cranford Road just to name a few areas.

Local resident who I have spoken to agree your article is at best sloppy journalism and at worst, fake news.

I read on the Exmouth Journal website your Group Editor Philip Griffin tells us the paper is “ respected for it`s balanced reporting “. We all had a good laugh at that.

For you information the cycle path in Jarvis Close north of Plumb Park is being currently dug up by South West Water to lay pipes. The work will last for 5 weeks. More excessive noise, more disruption and even more dust just a couple of metres from residences in Littleham Road.

Finally, it is your prerogative not to reply to my emails, it is our prerogative not to purchase your paper. “

and the resident’s earlier email to which the resident also had no reply:

“2 August 2018

To: laura.brainwood@archant.co.uk
Subject: Red dust causes misery for residents near Plumb Park development

I would like to make you aware of a few facts regarding the current red dust problem that you reported on in the 1st August 2018 edition of the Exmouth Journal.

“ Taylor Wimpey have taken measures to reduce the impact “. This is not correct.

When I have contacted their Exeter call centre ( 01392 442617 ) they say dust suppression is taking place, but it is not. We are told a water bowser “ damp down” every day. As the site is visible from my bedroom window in Littleham Road, 30 meters from the north fence, I can inform you it never takes place. We are also told a street sweeper is used to suppress the dust. We have never seen the vehicle.

A resident who lives in Jarvis Close (his wife has a very serious case of COPD), confronted the Site Manger face to face recently and was told “damping down“ takes place in certain areas every 20 minutes. This is a lie.

I have contacted Environmental Health to complain about the red dust. I am not the only Littleham Road resident to have done this.

Alice Gill EHO did call back to inform me that Taylor Wimpy is taking action to reduce the dust. She is telling me what Taylor Wimpey is telling her. It is just not happening. Recent emails informing them again, that there is still a big problem have been ignored.

Food has to be covered to stop contamination from the dust in the kitchen. As windows are left open due to the warm weather we even have dust on tooth brushes in the bathroom. It has permeated into closed cupboards. Yes. It is inside the house!!!

In the meantime elderly resident who have COPD have to inhale red dust, along with everybody else, just because Taylor Wimpey can`t be bothered to do anything.

EDDC Development Management Committee was informed in June 2013 by many local residents that this development would blight the lives of local people. They were not interested.

Perhaps your readers would like to know a few facts regarding this issue, plus the current disinterest.”

“First-time buyers left high and dry as number of cheaper homes plunges under the Tories”

“First-time buyers have been left high and dry after the number of cheaper homes plunged under the Tories.

Just 7,245 new affordable homes to buy were funded by the government last year – down from 20,298 in 2009/10.

Official figures show the number of those homes completed fell for four years in a row after the Tories took power, and hit a low point of 4,280 in 2015/16.

It comes despite Theresa May declaring in January that it was her “personal mission to restore the dream of home-ownership”.

Labour claimed 77,000 fewer affordable homes to buy had been built than if construction had continued at the 2009/10 rate. ….”

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/first-time-buyers-left-high-13050005