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EU Referendum: Apart from a mess, how do things look one week on?

1 July 2016 • Simon Leighton

In the midst of the political, economic and constitutional disruption created by last week’s referendum decision and the fallout across the political parties, a few areas have materialised in relation to housing that offer some encouragement.

Lord Heseltine, at the CIH conference yesterday indicated a significant announcement had been scheduled for this week of plans to assist 100 challenging estates and to support housing in the northern powerhouse. He was deliberately being vague in his choice of language, and so we have no details. Whilst the Brexit decision has delayed the announcement, Lord Heseltine indicated it was to be expected.

The Peer also reiterated the importance of good tenant engagement, with an emphasis on not foisting “solutions” on tenants to the issues faced on our housing estates, but being heavily guided by the input of those living there. I know there’s nothing new about this. Indeed, my own perception is that RPs have made sterling efforts in tenant engagement. That said, does the apparent disparity of referendum voting choices between the leadership of many RPs and their tenants illuminate that we would benefit from further initiatives to engage with our tenants more effectively?

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney has suggested there may be a cut in interest rates, which may be welcome news for the housing providers and their funding costs.

The FTSE has rallied, which will help in support pension performance and reduce pension deficits for us all.

Of course, we have no clarity as to how things will shape up for the UK outside EU membership. With some of the statements already made by other European leaders I’m beginning to wonder if the aspirations of some (irrespective of the information provided by politicians to form those views) may be dashed. As we commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme today with its abhorrent loss of one million lives to advance only 7 miles and not break through German defences, I do hope when we reflect back in years to come that we will not wonder if the gains made by our collective and democratic decision last week will be of little benefit when compared with the turmoil it created.

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