> Gentoo, if I remember correctly, is what used to be Sunderland Council’s council housing stock department before it all got privatised. Now it mainly builds houses for sale – affordable insomuch that anything is affordable to someone with lots of cash. What we really need is new housing at affordable rents.
Gentoo is joining forces with Mayor of London Boris Johnson to bring 2,000 affordable new homes to the capital.
> Oi ! 2000 affordable new homes in Sunderland first would be nice.
The Doxford International-based housing company’s Genie Home Purchase Plan, which is targeted at helping first-time buyers and long-term renters on to the property ladder, is to launch in the city with £40million loan finance backing from the Greater London Authority (GLA) through the Mayor’s Revolving Fund, which gives recoverable loans for new forms of affordable housing.
The moves comes after Genie’s successful pilot in the North East, which has seen 88 families move into homes of their own.
Genie is now looking for development opportunities for the first 500 new homes.
Boris Johnson said:
“Plans like this provide more accessibility and flexibility for purchasers who may struggle to save large deposits and funding will help accelerate the delivery of much needed new homes across London.”
Genie managing director Steve Hicks said:
“This 10-year partnership with the GLA will help customers into a minimum of 2,000 new homes in the capital who otherwise would have struggled to own their own homes, because of the difficult market conditions in London.”
> On its website, Gentoo informs us under the heading What Makes Us Special :
Gentoo’s uniqueness and strength comes from the dedication, skill and energy of our staff; they live our values daily and work to deliver Gentoo’s vision and
Vision – to improve the Art of Living beyond our imagination.
Mission – we generate wealth by improving the lives of our customers and re-invest it through passionate people to create a climate for personal and collective opportunity.
• Believe nothing is impossible
• Re-imagine the future
• We cultivate a learning curiosity
• Live authentic relationships
• Give us all you’ve got
> I would be particularly worried by that last one… including your very soul, perhaps ?
Source – Sunderland Echo, 06 Jan 2015
Ministers have been accused of declaring “war” on the North East as MPs and council leaders gathered at Westminster to plan their fight-back against funding cuts.
> Well it’s taken them long enough ! Have they only just noticed what’s been going on under their noses ?
The region’s Labour politicians warned the debate about funding and grants obscured the real impact of cuts, which was worse public services and the prospect of councils running out of money.
Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland Council, said families in the North East would receive poorer police and fire services than those in wealthier parts of the country.
And the region’s politicians accused the Government of quietly scrapping the long-accepted convention that funding was allocated in part on the basis of need – so areas with higher levels of poverty, a higher proportion of older folk a low skills base or other pressing needs were given the cash they needed.
The change means a council like Newcastle is facing budget cuts while those in much wealthier areas are enjoying increases in funding.
The warnings were issued as council leaders delivered a presentation to MPs in a Commons committee room at Westminster, following a meeting with Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis.
> And they all said: “Bugger me, we had no idea this was going on. When did this start, then ?”
GatesheadMP Ian Mearns told the gathering: “There is a war being fought against our communities and it is being inflicted on us in the most ruthless fashion I can remember in my 30 years in politics.”
North Durham MP Kevan Jones added: “This is a war. They know exactly what they are doing. They are diverting money from our areas to areas in the south.”
A presentation produced by the Association of North East Councils (ANEC) warned that cuts in council budgets in the North East amounted to £467 for every household between 2010 and 2016 – compared to just £105 in the South East.
The discrepancy is partly a result of the Government abandoning the principle of funding based on “need”, which traditionally meant some councils received more than others.
A higher proportion of the North East’s population is elderly than the national average. The region also has more adults who need social care and long-term unemployment, as well as more children in care, all of which would traditionally have meant councils received higher funding.
But ANEC estimates that by 2019-20, Newcastle City Council’s spending power per household will be equal to the money available to a council in a wealthy areas such as Wokingham, in Berkshire.
Meanwhile, Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell, has revealed that a poll of her constituents shows that more than 90% of respondents expect their standard of living to get worse or stay the same over the next three years.
The survey on her website found that 79% of respondents were concerned by energy bills, 56% by food prices and 39% with the cost of transport.
> So now our Labour representives finally seem to have caught on to what’s going down. Question is, what are they going to actually do about it ?
Source – Newcastle Journal, 16 Jan 2014