Continue the conversation at the party conferences

Our Bigger Better Bolder event in London is part of an on-going series of Catalyst activities exploring key national issues in housing. The next will be a set of “fringe” events that we are hosting at the three party political conferences, in which we debate the changing role of local authorities and housing associations. If you are planning to be at any of the party conferences, please join us for:

Do we need housing associations now that councils can do it for themselves?

Labour Party Conference
Monday 22 September at 3pm, in the Bridgewater Suite, Jury’s Inn, Manchester.
Speaking: Roberta Blackman-Woods MP.
The panel includes Tom Copley (Labour’s housing spokesperson on the London Assembly)

Conservative Party Conference
Tuesday 30 September at 9.00am, in room 103, Jury’s Inn, Birmingham.
The panel includes Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at Oxford University, and author of All that is Solid: the great housing disaster.

Liberal Democrat Party Conference
Tuesday 7 October at 9.30am, in the Alsh 1 room at the SECC Glasgow (in the secure zone).
Speaking: Stephen Williams MP.

There is little doubt that the UK needs more homes: figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal house prices have reached annual inflation levels of more than 9 per cent, while in London, prices have risen year-on-year by a staggering 17.7 per cent. The situation is little better in the public housing sector with an increase of 81 per cent in the number of households on the waiting list for social housing since 1997.

On 7 April this year, the government announced new borrowing powers enabling local councils to build up to 10,000 new affordable homes. By raising the cap on councils’ housing revenue account (HRA) borrowing, councils can bid for a share of £300m in extra funds to put towards their projects. Overall, the government says these changes are designed to ‘untie the hands’ of local authorities and get them building.

Do we need housing associations now that councils can do it for themselves will consider how housing associations and local authorities might work together to address the housing crisis head-on. What partnership models can housing associations, local authorities, local communities and private house-builders develop? Productive relationships between these groups are key in order to create the homes we vitally need.

We look forward to seeing you there.