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Amendment vital to welfare reform bill

After publication of the Welfare Reform Bill last year, many expressed concern about its plan to pay housing benefit direct to tenants instead of landlords.

We believe lender funding to social landlords could be jeopardised by tenants failing to pay their rent. This could push up arrears and make the proposition more risky for lenders and investors.

Along with other concerned organisations, we supported an amendment to the bill to allow recipients to choose whether they or the landlord should receive their benefit. That amendment has now been withdrawn.

This month the government announced five local authorities and their housing association partners will begin a pilot on the consequences of direct payments from June. The project will take a year and will test how, not if, the system will work – the commitment to direct payments stands.

We also disagreed with the bill’s plan to impose a tax on social housing households that had one or more extra bedrooms. The House of Lords backed a compromise amendment exempting families with one additional bedroom and no alternative property.

Without this, the bill would penalise many households for having an extra room, rather than targeting high level under-occupation, its main objective. We hope MPs will allow the bedroom tax amendment to stand when the bill returns to the House of Commons next month.


Transfer of second charges to FSA is a long time coming

The Mortgage Market Review has confirmed the regulation of secured loans will move from the Office of Fair Trading to the Financial Services Authority/ Financial Conduct Authority no earlier than 2014, once a decision has been reached on the transfer of consumer credit regulation as a whole.

Paragon Group has good Q4 2011 with £38.6m of loans

The Paragon Group of Companies, parent of Paragon Mortgages, lent £38.6m in buy-to-let loans in Q4 2011, an interim management statement revealed last week. It advanced £37.4m in new buy-to-let mortgages plus £1.2m in further advances to existing borrowers during the three-month period. On December 31 2011, its pipeline of new business amounted to £95.1m. […]

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Considerations for overseas workers in Germany

With Germany’s strong economic growth leading the eurozone’s recovery, many UK businesses are keen to be part of the success story: recent data shows that there are currently more than 280,000* employees working for a UK-controlled company in the country.


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