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Friday, April 07, 2006
Decent Homes Initiative to be scrapped?
I blogged the other day about the Decent Homes Initiative and how there are still 6 million non-decent homes which would theoretically cost £47 billion to bring up to scratch, although the DCI has only a £19bn budget. Well, it seems like Miliband thinks that all that money might be better spent on a more holistic approach than inserting high-quality kitchens into failaing estates.

Building (subs only) reports that Miliband and his housing deputy Yvette Cooper are thinking of replacing the standard, designed to bring all of England's social housing up to scratch by 2010, because it does not focus resources on the wider regeneration of an area. Miliband is keen that the money be spent instead on creating mixed tenure neighbourhoods in which private housing is used to break up concentrations of social housing, but this would be a major policy shift.

A working party on the issue set up by Pricewaterhouse Coopers is proposing that councils be free to spend their housing funds on upgrading entire estates. Such a move would be a break with the way council housing has been funded for decades, and would give councils greater leeway in the way they carry out redevelopments.

Changing the local authority housing funding regime would bring housing policy more into line with the way the Housing Corporation funds its development programme, and may herald a closer working relationship with English Partnerships. The corporation's forward strategy will outline its own proposals for a Decent Places standard.

The quango's £50m northern housing challenge will encourage registered social landlords to submit bids not just for housing schemes but for any project that will improve the quality of life in the area in which they are working. Northern authorities have been lobbying for more leeway over how they spend their money, arguing that many council dwellings have a limited life because many tenants want to own their own homes.


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