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Policy update from CE National – March 28th 2024

Lee Rowley announces building safety enforcement League Table in update on building safety

On Tuesday (26 March), Housing Minister Lee Rowley gave an update to the House of Commons on building safety. Included in this was an announcement that a “League Table” will be published to show the public in which areas enforcement actions around building safety have been happening. Also announced was a further £6 million for council enforcement teams for the development of a new regulatory protocol for greater consistency and a new fund that partners can access for legal support in complex cases. He also gave an account of the progress with remediation works, saying nearly 60,000 homeowners have had their remediation work completed so far.


Government publishes response to Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee’s inquiry on financial distress in local authorities

On Monday (25 March), the Government released its response to the LUHC Select Committee’s inquiry on financial distress in local authorities. This touched on several aspects of local government. Comments related to housing include:

  • The Government understands the importance of stable housing and is taking action to increase access to affordable housing. Increasing the Local Housing Allowance (LHA), in recognition of increasing rents, is a key part of helping those who get housing support.
  • The Government’s £1.2 billion investment from April 2024 will increase LHA rates to the 30th percentile of local market rents. This will see 1.6 million private renters gain, on average, nearly £800 per year in additional help with their rental costs in 2024-25.
  • The Government’s £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme will aim to deliver thousands of affordable homes for both rent and to buy across the country, after the Levelling Up White Paper committed to increasing the supply of social rented homes. A large number of those new homes delivered through the Affordable Homes Programme will be for social rent.
  • The Government does not support land value taxation. For businesses, it would mean soaring bills for local high streets where land values are higher; on homes, it would tax local residents for the size of their garden.


Labour launches local election campaign

Keir Starmer has today (28 March) launched Labour’s local election campaign, warning that councils face an appalling funding situation which Labour cannot easily reverse. While light on new announcements, Starmer called for three-year funding plans instead of one-year ones to help the funding situation but noted that Labour will not be able to just “turn funding taps on”.


Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announces new regime to deliver decent homes for social housing

On Wednesday (3 April), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced new rules to make social housing providers raise standards for their tenants. The new rules require landlords to:

  • Have an accurate record on the condition of every home, based on checks of properties so landlords can understand any problems and take action.
  • Set clear timelines for the completion of repairs, maintenance and planned improvements, communicating them clearly to tenants.
  • Give tenants opportunities to influence and scrutinise their landlord’s services such as through meetings with tenant organisations.
  • Provide tenants with information about their rights and how to make complaints.
  • Publish the new tenant satisfaction measures to make it clear how tenants feel their landlord is performing and hold them to account.

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities updates guidance to call for second staircases in all new buildings over 18 metres from 30 September 2026

On Friday (29 March), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities updated its guidance to call for second staircases in all new residential buildings over 18 metres. The change in guidance adds to a package of recent fire safety measures and reforms including the Building Safety Act which aims to ensure the safety of people in both new and existing tall buildings. The threshold height was decided after a public consultation last year. Regulation for existing buildings is also being considered as part of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s recommendations.



Government 55-day average payment rule comes into force

Contractors bidding for public works contracts worth over £5m must demonstrate they pay all invoices within 55 days, or face a public work ban.  Government 55-day average payment rule comes into force | Construction Enquirer News

Main contractor trade credit insurance hits crisis point

Jittery insurers are pulling trade credit insurance cover on some of the country’s leading contractors. Main contractor trade credit insurance hits crisis point | Construction Enquirer News

City of London launches heritage buildings retrofit toolkit – Energy Live News

Energy Live News reports the City of London has launched a toolkit to help retrofit the area’s 600-plus listed buildings and other heritage sites without compromising their heritage. The Heritage Buildings Retrofit Toolkit aims to implement the necessary adaptations for carbon emission reduction in heritage buildings in line with the City Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy towards achieving net zero by 2040 and was launched at a “Retrofitting the City” event.

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