Social Rents Reduced — Comeuppance for Newham Pontius Pilate Performance

A wall of high-rise apartments with faded paint super graphics making them slightly unique
Henniker Point photo by Nico Hogg is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
A social housing tower block in the London Borough of Newham.

In the UK, there at last seems a limit to washing your social housing hands. To be sure, the national government continues to get away with its scheme of pushing its truly affordable housing responsibilities onto lesser government shoulders. The downloading began decades ago, along with cockamamie recipes for funding that instruct local councils they must force the private building industry to foot the bill.

Doesn’t work. At least not in any way that produces the volume of truly affordable housing that the nation needs.

Meanwhile, some local councils have taken a leaf out of the hand-washing handbook, and pushed the responsibilities of existing public housing upkeep down to private management companies, with a similar cockamamie recipe for funding: extract it from the tenants.

As the London Borough of Newham has recently discovered, courtesy of the courts, that doesn’t work either. Oh sure, they’re bleating up a storm about ‘management failures’ as if the blame for being forced to dramatically cut tenant rents can be assigned to a few faulty employees, instead of the entire hand-washing process itself.

Viewing this court-assisted tenant pushback, four long years in the making, could there be hope for effectively taking the national government to task? Could the pushback eventually ripple upwards to the hand-washers-in-chief at the national government level, thereby unclogging a pipeline of desperately needed UK social housing?

Read more in The Guardian: ‘It hasn’t sunk in’: Residents win 60% rent reduction in London council flats