In the long shadow of Grenfell, Scottish social landlords praised by regulator

 Coming after evidence that social or affordable housing is growing in Scotland at twice the rate, per capita, of that in Tory England (SNP Government builds affordable/social housing at almost twice the rate of Tories in England) , we hear evidence that Scottish social landlords are performing well across a range of standards. Readers won’t be surprised to hear that in post-Grenfell, Tory England, standards are not being met.

See the above summary chart and this below, from Scottish Housing News yesterday:

‘Scottish social landlords continue to show strong performance across most of the standards and outcomes of the Scottish Social Housing Charter, a new Scottish Housing Regulator report has found. Published today, the Regulator’s report gives the headline findings of its fifth, national analysis of landlords’ performance against the Charter standards and outcomes. It shows that overall, landlords continue to perform well in the service areas that matter most to tenants.  Tenant satisfaction remains high, with nine out of ten social housing tenants satisfied with their landlord’s overall service.’

Unfortunately for those few able to live in English social housing, the situation is far from re-assuring. See these two recent reports from the Guardian and the Independent, with the usual conflation of England with the UK, of course:

Grenfell Tower tragedy shows social housing system has failed UK citizens. In the housing system, cost-cutting and reckless decisions were made with little fear of anyone being held responsible. The 2012 national planning policy framework, often described as a “developers’ charter”, has given precedence to expensive private development while discouraging social housing. The result is that through land-banking, slow build-out rates and using the housing market as an investment, house prices have risen way beyond the reach of most average-wage earners. At the same time, an increasing proportion of the incomes of the lower paid is spent on rented accommodation, which is often of poor quality.’

More than half a million social homes in England fail to meet basic health and safety standards, an analysis of official government data by The Independent has revealed. Just weeks after the Grenfell Tower fire raised serious questions about the state of housing in the UK, new statistics show that 525,000 social homes currently do not meet the national Decent Homes Standard – almost one in seven of all social homes in England. Of these, 244,000 properties are deemed to have a category one safety hazard – the highest category of risk — which includes potentially fatal hazards such as exposed wiring, overloaded electricity sockets, dangerous boilers, leaking roofs, vermin infestations or inadequate security.’

Yet, support for the Tories is largely unchanged in the polls. What do they have to do? A Merkel like influx of migrants right into Tory safe seats might do it.


15 thoughts on “In the long shadow of Grenfell, Scottish social landlords praised by regulator

  1. Alasdair Macdonald September 2, 2018 / 12:15 pm

    Housing gets only occasional coverage. The media focus on the Labour Party antisemitism row and on potential splits. They focus on Brexit issues. With no Parliaments sitting there are few opportunities to raise issues. Housing scarcity is probably a plus for the Tories: the shortage according to the dog whistling media is due to immigrants being allocated housing, in preference to local people. Ergo, control immigration and the housing problem will be sorted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Contrary September 2, 2018 / 3:57 pm

      Madness isn’t it, and seems so self-destructive as well?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Contrary September 2, 2018 / 5:06 pm

    Aye, still a way to go yet for Scotland, but at least we are seeing significant progress, and a real eye to making it a better country – security in where you live should surely be one of the basic human rights. I think mostly it is taking time to progress because of the mess left after the neo-Liberal assault of thatcher in the 80s and subsequent shitty government policy from labour and Tory leaders. I get absolutely sick of hearing about the council coalitions formed between Tory and Labour – they are meant to be opposition parties yet don’t even try to pretend any more – working against policies that would benefit communities, just because it was an SNP member that came up with the idea. Hmm, a bit of a moan-fest there & off on a tangent.

    Maybe because I was just listening to some dire warnings from Noam Chomsky? –

    Not very cheery & nothing to do with Scotland, but interesting and my first foray into hearing what the man has to say (I expect a pat on the back). In this presentation to an American university, he decides to answer the question about whether we will all be wiped out or not. As I say, not cheery. He puts forward two major threats, the nuclear weapons total destruction threat – interesting how close things have gotten over the years – and climate change complete breakdown of the environment threat – he believes it is imminent and catastrophic. Now, obviously with the leadership in America being climate change deniers, there are serious questions on how much they are going to contribute to our total destruction.

    Interesting thing: I’ve been watching a pile of Mark Blyth presentations on economy (of austerity & how it doesn’t work, and so on – he takes a political-economical view so isn’t the normal dry economical theory stuff), he’s based in America, and there is general agreement between him and Noam that there is no reason whatsoever – economically, cost wise, politically – that education shouldn’t be funded publicly. I haven’t found the answer to why it isnt happening in America, and England, though.

    Anyway, I did think about the Scottish government plans to be carbon neutral earlier than most countries – Scotland is doing its bit, and I hope it encourages other countries to do the same. So even though some plans seemed a bit ambitious and will need infrastructure & behaviour change (electric cars), and a decent product, I am beginning to realise it is not just a nice gesture, it really is needed as soon as possible (we don’t really get to hear about the projected catastrophic changes via MSM so it’s no wonder we just grumble and debate it).

    So, 20% of the people in western societies control 80% of the wealth and hold all the power, and they are the ones that are resistant to change, because they believe they need the ‘stability’ of the current systems to keep their wealth and power intact. So, the problem is, the facts say the chances are there will be another financial collapse soon enough (because they didn’t change the system after the last), there could likely be environmental collapse if there is not change (oil is still useful even if you don’t burn it!), austerity politics means the rise in ‘populism’ (right or left) which tend to overthrow the elite, countries like Scotland need self-determination to be really effective at, not only keeping its society and culture intact, but making good change that is beneficial to all and just move on beyond the confines of a feudal system – so need change – in Scotland we don’t just have our own 20% that are resistant to change, but we have England’s (and outside) 20% too working away to prevent any change. Remember those are the folk that have the money and power – even though preventing change is detrimental to their own lives! So, how do we get a large enough percentage of that 20% to realise change is in their own best interest? And if we can’t, how do we block their influence? Hmm, actually, I think we are doing it already!

    Enough brain-spew for a week there. John, are you moderating my last enlightening comment on your last article, or are you, outrageously, taking a day off?! I note that BigJon added further info re: education in England (I have not read the link yet).

    Liked by 1 person

    • johnrobertson834 September 2, 2018 / 5:14 pm

      Just back from cycling to watch the folk at the Ayr Air Show. The jets went round and round and up and done and said RRRROOOOOAAAAAARRRRR!!!!!!. I’ll have a look for your last comment. Thanks for the Chomsky. My PhD was about the Propaganda Model and struggled through against huffy opposition.

      Liked by 1 person

    • johnrobertson834 September 2, 2018 / 5:18 pm

      Re moderation of your big one yesterday. WordPress no likey for some reason. May have to paste it into a news comment.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Contrary September 2, 2018 / 6:12 pm

      ‘Huffy opposition’? Haha, I guess you were an incredibly stubborn student / post grad then?!

      You WERE taking a day off, enjoying yourself! But then, if you were doing cycling activities too, then you can be forgiven. Sounds like a good day out though! I’m a bit bunged up with some kind of virusy cold like thing so have just been lazing about and inundating the Internet with my maybe relevant maybe not thoughts.

      Some links, mostly of the http variety (without the s) appear to cause issues on lots of sites, I admit I didn’t really check the actual addresses before posting. I’ll try harder in future 😉


      • johnrobertson834 September 2, 2018 / 8:49 pm

        Once I gave WordPress approval to check for spam or chopped ham with pork it let me approve it.


    • Contrary September 2, 2018 / 8:02 pm

      I’ve also been inundating Richard Murphy’s blog with comment too, with questions of economical matters, just so that my education on that subject wasn’t wildly off-base, e.g., neo-kensyian I believe means kind of bog standard, not thinking anything new in economics. Anyway, Richard’s article is quite interesting and reasonably relevant to what I was looking at at the time – banking and why it hasn’t changed, how this affects the economy – this gives insight into why I said another collapse is predicted. My comments are 8th or 9th down and include links to a couple of Mark Blyth’s presentations (Scottish accent so easier to understand 🙂 ) that I watched – the second is where he gives insight to the rise of populism. He does not suggest solutions or any new ideas regarding economies, mainly just explains why it’s not working (and what a bad idea the euro was) – and is fairly brutal re: baby-boomers. I think they were worth a watch, but then I’ve been sitting about being poorly & feeling sorry for myself.


    • Contrary September 2, 2018 / 8:16 pm

      [p.s. My aim here is to gain enough understanding of tax and economical matters so I can comment intelligently on any proposals of that, and maybe come up with a grand plan of when/where/how things should be done, the smoothest transition, in setting up Scotland as independent. I am only on p20 of the sustainable growth commission report, have to keep going and searching out education on their claims. Let’s hope we get get independence before I finish the report!]


      • johnrobertson834 September 2, 2018 / 8:52 pm

        You can be my economics correspondent and give me quotes to thrown at Douglas Fraser.

        Get well.


      • Contrary September 3, 2018 / 3:58 pm

        Haha, maybe one day! Ugh, feeling worse today, dosing with vitamin c – good idea, think I’ll take some Vit D too.


  3. Ludo Thierry September 3, 2018 / 4:30 pm

    Kate Campbell, SNP Councillor and Convenor of Housing in SNP led Edinburgh City Council (in a pretty effective partnership with Labour to be perfectly fair), is showing real determination to get things happening for real in housing right now. I don’t know much about Councillor Kate Campbell – but more power to her elbow (and to her City Council Administration colleagues) :

    Edinburgh City Council is to push ahead with plans to force owners to sell up abandoned empty homes by using controversial legal measures.

    The city currently has 1,267 properties which have been empty for more than 12 months, while 5,000 homes have remained vacant for at least six months.

    Officers will draw up plans to pilot the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders to force homeowners to sell properties.

    The council wants to free up housing stock.

    Kate Campbell, City of Edinburgh Council’s housing and economy convener welcomed the agreement to push forward with action to bring homes back into use.

    She said: “We heard about the impact on people’s lives and we have an enormous amount of pressure on our housing market in Edinburgh. Bringing homes back into use is really important.

    “I’m very pleased with this pro-active response and it’s the first step to getting on and doing something about the problem of long-term empty homes.

    The council will present business cases for each CPO it wishes to pursue, and will need the approval of the Full Council and Scottish Ministers in order to proceed.

    The council currently has four properties on a shortlist, which have been abandoned for at least 10 years. Council officers are currently dealing with a case load of 34 homes – putting pressure on owners to reintroduce properties.


  4. Ludo Thierry September 3, 2018 / 4:55 pm

    Another Court of Session ruling which requires a further hearing of a Home Office asylum decision – this really seems to be a happening on a very regular basis. Good to see the Scottish Courts feel confident to intervene to achieve justice in this fashion. Was this stuff always happening – or is there some change happening that I haven’t seen being discussed anywhere much?: see edit from Scottish Legal site:

    Two Iranian nationals whose claims for asylum based on their fear of persecution arising out of their conversion from Islam to Christianity following their arrival in the UK were rejected by the Home Secretary have successfully appealed against the decisions.

    The Inner House of the Court of Session allowed the appeals after ruling that the First-tier and Upper Tribunals, which did not believe that the “sur place” conversion was genuine and refused the refused both appeals on that basis, “erred in law” in both cases.

    The cases of “TF” and “MA” against the Secretary of State for the Home Department were remitted for a rehearing before differently constituted tribunals after the judges held that the FTT and UT effectively disregarded “independent evidence” from church witnesses relating to the genuineness of the appellants’ conversions.


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