As the EU is intending to do away with 0% rates altogether it is highly unlikely that any further reduction will be made. However, it looks more likely that VAT will be harmonised at 5% on both new build and refurbishment of empty properties. Although this has a very generous application in Europe, the matter here is still at consultation stage and nothing has really progressed. Although C&E are not aware of what is in the pipeline, it is looking increasingly possible. NAs this has been an ongoing campaign of The Empty Homes Agency, it once more proves the Agency’s worth.
Several of you have mentioned housing investment companies that seem to be buying up properties, keeping them empty and driving market prices down. The Empty Homes Agency is looking into this and would appreciate some examples of what is happening in your area. A good understanding of regeneration is essential when tackling empty properties. So many differing theories abound on the subject that it is important to ensure that your empty property strategy is tailored to suit your area. More Details: Enact Conveyancing Melbourne
One way of doing this is to conduct effective community consultation. The days of the tortuous public meeting paying lip-service to consultation are over. If you really want to know what the market is doing and benefit from valuable contributions your community can make, then you must ask and show that you have listened. There has been considerable criticism of local authorities from a number of sources recently saying that they have a problem of sharing control and granting autonomy to communities – both to community members and to community groups. In some ways this is fair criticism and in other ways not so fair.
Local authorities have historically been creatures of control. Following instructions from democratically elected members, they have sought – quite rightly – to implement policy decided from above. In good examples this policy implementation has resulted in communities benefiting from best practice and other local authorities benefiting from the dissemination of that good practice. However evolving political thought has shown that a democratic election should not be the last say that the voting public has on the matter and that – on what happens in the community – decisions should be reached via a consensus of councillors, local authority officers, community groups, private investors with a valid interest in the area and community members. The most obvious example is that where demolition of empty properties seems to be the only answer.
SHG, which has built communities for more than 100 years, has a history of meeting new challenges. Most recently it has trail-blazed the Egan proposals that are reshaping the construction process at the award-winning Millennium Plus Project in Hackney and elsewhere. It also has a great deal of experience in building on brown-field sites to high densities: skills that will be in high demand, if one million new homes are to be built in the South East over the next 20 years.
Jeremy gained his development experience working initiating new projects and delivery of the development programme for L&Q’s South West Thames region for the past 18 months. Prior to this Jeremy spent 10 years with Sanctuary H.A. initially as an area development manager and for 7 years as regional development manager for their South East Division.
Southern Housing Group, Industrial Dwellings Society (IDS) and Clapton Community Housing Trust (CCHT) have recently unveiled their new £1,000,000 CCTV scheme covering eleven estates in north Hackney. The three Housing Associations are joining forces to tackle crime, the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour in the area.
The scheme, funded with £830,000 from the Home Office, is backed by Hackney Council, the police and other community organisations. It complements other estate regeneration being undertaken by all three housing associations, including improvements to communal lighting and fitting door entry systems. The joint approach involving local housing providers and major stakeholders has been a key element of the success of this collaborative project which has enhanced the continuing programme of security measures on Hackney estates.
Southern Housing Group’s London regional director, Gavin Cansfield, says: “We know that one of the biggest concerns for many of our residents in London, unfortunately, is crime. I am delighted that a number of housing associations have been able to work together with the police and the local authority on this project to bring in extra resources.”
Paul Westbrook, chief executive, IDS, says: “Recent consultation has reaffirmed the priority our tenants give to the safety of their home environment and the need to tackle anti-social behaviour.” CCHT’s director, Tony Swinden, says: “We know how important it is for our tenants and leaseholders to feel safer in their homes and local neighbourhoods. Our range of security improvements can now be supplemented by monitoring of these CCTV cameras, providing extra security and reassurance. It shifts the odds a little more against those who commit crime or behave in anti social ways.”
We have worked very closely with DSS agencies and through our partnership approach we have achieved. greater understanding of fraud and security issues across DSS. closer working between policy makers and practitioners by discussing our findings with the key players. a commitment from each Chief Executive to improve the social security system. The inspection, London South Directorate (AD3) which included fieldwork in South London and the South East. was a major exercise.
It involved some 30 BFI staff who visited over 20 sites in AD3, 2 Benefit Centres and BA Central Services offices over an 8 week period. Up to 150 BA staff were interviewed and there was extensive sampling of claims and fraud investigations. We worked closely with BA to produce a report which recognised the scale and complexity Process of Conveyancing of BA business and highlighted good practice and produced a set of forward looking and practical recommendations.
BA staff were also praised for their dedication and commitment to do a good job often in difficult circumstances. The report identifies some weaknesses in Incapacity Benefit processing, Income Support control and risks to benefit security. BA Area Director Chris McDonald formally acknowledged the value of the BFI report in a letter to all his staff. There is nothing which is a complete surprise to us we live every day with the challenges of competing priorities and know where the weaknesses are. But this report does give us, in a single document, a clear view which will help us to overcome them. BA is committed to improving standards and has produced a comprehensive plan of action addressing each area of weakness identified in the report. These will be monitored at both area and national level. We have made a difference to the way DSS considers fraud in a child support context and raised awareness of the need to improve security. We were invited by Faith Boardman, Chief Executive, to carry out an inspection and to work in partnership.
The Contributions Agency (CA) is responsible for maintaining more than 65 million National Insurance (NI) accounts and collecting some £3.5 billion each year. We found areas for improvement in the processes surrounding creating accounts, transaction handling and account management. Our recommendations included the need for an effective logging system and a more proactive approach to managing NI accounts. developed a comprehensive plan to implement many of our recommendations to improve the existing systems of control.
The debates, to be held one year after British police forces start to grapple with the recommendations of the Lawrence inquiry, will set the tone for world-wide policing developments in the opening years of the next century.
[DSG Retail] does not advertise vacancies for senior management posts. The Tribunal recommended that all senior managers likely to come into contact with Mr Bawa ‘should receive training on equal opportunities and the avoidance of discrimination on the ground of race in the workplace. Tax Depreciation Quantity Surveyors’ parts and obligations incorporate estimation of plan cost and costs for development, planning assessment calendars, get ready reports expected to get regard from the administration, keeping up different wages and results of the property, proposing arrangement for the development etc. Commenting on the decision, Sir Herman Ouseley, Chairman of the CRE, said the decision pointed yet again to the continuing problems of workplace racial discrimination which is persistently high, as reflected in complaints to the CRE.
These will cover issues such as health, education, training, employment, social exclusion and racial harassment. Prime Minister Tony Blair said today that it would enable ‘Britain to share our unique achievements in this area with the rest of the world’. Sir Peter Bonfield, Chief Executive of the leading sponsor BT, said that diversity in the field of employment ‘makes sound business sense’.
CRE Chairman Sir Herman Ouseley said: Global cultural diversity and the global market make it essential that we learn to view diversity as a social and economic strength. A forward looking attitude, strong anti-discrimination measures, powerful leadership and public education programmes, together with honest and open debate and celebration of our successes, will make this aim a reality.
Home Secretary Jack Straw, who will be taking part in the Congress, said it would be ‘an event of international significance which will help set a positive agenda for seeking solutions to race and cultural issues in the coming century’. The work of building the Congress is being launched at a special event, sponsored by Barclays Bank, in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office tonight.
It is expected that several cities will bid to host a third Congress some four or five years into the new Millennium. DSG Retail, owners of the Dixons and Currys chains, have been found guilty of racial discrimination and victimisation against one of its Asian store managers, the CRE announced today. For example no training has been provided to managers at any level to implement the equal opportunities policy. and appraisals to ensure that they do not discriminate.