Mark met representatives today from some of London’s biggest housing associations, the G15, to discuss the impact of the credit crunch and their ideas for a radical overhaul of the social housing landscape. The G15 associations house around one in ten Londoners and manage 410 000 homes in the city.
A lack of capital liquidity to fund new housing schemes, a collapse in the financial viability of house builders and an acute lack of mortgage finance for those buying new homes are starting to cause real problems for London’s housing providers. The G15 believes that action can be taken to resolve the impasse but it will require the government to commit to a new way of working. They contend that housing associations should be allowed far more flexibility over their stock so that they can offer customers choice of service, home and tenure.
Mark intends to table a debate on this issue to increase the profile of this issue and improve the social housing landscape to the benefit of constituents.
Immigration is the single biggest issue in my constituency postbag. It gives me—or I suppose it would be more honest for me to say my private office—daily exposure to the chaos that is rife in the Home Office system. I do not want to make an overly partisan point, as it is fair to say that many of the problems predate 1997. I suspect that they will remain for some years to come unless we get a grip on them.