Magazine article Public Finance

Irwin Argues for Housing Regulator Role

Magazine article Public Finance

Irwin Argues for Housing Regulator Role

Article excerpt

The Audit Commission's chief inspector of housing has laid out his case for becoming the new social housing regulator.

The government is consulting on the establishment of the new regulator for council and housing association homes, arms-length management organisations and new private providers.

The consultation follows the Cave review, which recommended the creation of an independent body to oversee social housing.

But Roy Irwin told Public Finance that the Audit Commission was well placed to host that body itself. He said that the local government white paper meant the commission would already be paying close attention to councils' new 'place-shaping' role and ability to assess and balance competing local needs in their planning duties.

'The housing market differs between localities and the new regulator needs to work with social housing providers in their markets, not as if it s all the same,' said Irwin.

'The Audit Commission will have to understand the local housing market to assess how well councils are functioning and how well they are dealing with it. If the housing regulator were in a separate body, either you'd get duplication, or mixed messages with one regulator saying: "We think your rents ought to go up", and the other one saying: "You need to reflect your rents more closely to the local economics". …

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