Talking devolution: Learning from Manchester’s experiences

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Gill Powell, Director - AltairIt was the CIH conference in Manchester last week and Steve Douglas, Chris Wood and I hosted a lunch for a group of Altair clients and guests. 

The two main topics of conversation were, not surprisingly, the two Euro exits: Brexit and the football.

There was some agreement that Starter Homes would no longer be feasible if Brexit had a negative impact on the construction industry, and that there would be renewed government focus on mixed tenure to meet housing need. Difficulties in the construction industry may at the same time provide those RPs with strong balance sheets, the opportunity to pick up land.

There were mixed views as to whether the disenfranchisement felt across the population would lead government to focus more on regeneration and welfare policies.

The discussion during lunch was led by Paul Beardmore, Director of Housing from Greater Manchester City Council who outlined the very positive experience of devolution. He talked about the Land Commission and how it will facilitate access to public land for Housing Associations. He also talked about the capacity within sector loan books and the additional potential if LSVT bases of valuation could be aligned, providing greater borrowing capacity. In the future, he sees the devolution focus shifting to health and social care.

An enjoyable lunch and interesting conversation.