Concentrate on housing, Raynsford warns housing associations

21 Sep 00
Housing association rents should not be kept artificially high so that registered social landlords can fund activities linked to neighbourhood renewal, housing minister Nick Raynsford warned this week.

22 September 2000

Speaking at the National Housing Federation's annual conference in Birmingham on September 20, Raynsford accepted that RSLs wanted to be involved in regeneration schemes, but they should not lose sight of the fact that their primary function is to supply and manage homes.

'As providers of affordable housing, it appears perverse that additional rent charges are being used to make good failings in main services,' he said. 'It cannot be right that the poorer members of society who live in the poorest areas should pay higher rents.'

Artificially high rents, he said, sent out the wrong signals over housing management. 'RSLs should be using their influence to help empower their tenants to challenge mainstream service providers over the level and quality of services delivered.'

Raynsford said he was listening carefully to representations that the government has received over rent reform, and accepted that there were genuine concerns among RSLs.

'We need to recognise that we face a range of conflicting pressures and objectives, and there is no single model which can meet all of them,' he told delegates.

'While many RSLs have expressed understandable concern about the reduction in some of their rents, many local authorities have expressed equal concern at possible increases in their rents.'


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