The latest from HQN — articles for June 2018

HQN blog: National Audit Office reports on Universal Credit

National Audit Office (NAO) reports on Universal Credit (UC) follow a familiar pattern.

First, the financial watchdog makes trenchant criticisms of the new benefit system, or politely questions the entire rationale for introducing it in the first place, or reveals revelations of yet more delays in progress towards the promised land.

HQN blog: Lessons for Labour – a ten-point plan for housing

Fresh from addressing the Labour Housing Group, HQN Chief Executive Alistair McIntosh offers the party some home truths.

“What on earth is the point of the Labour Party if it cannot even oppose the mad disaster of railway privatisation?” That’s what Peter Hitchens wrote in his column in the Mail in 2014. And I agree. Labour has to do what it says on the tin. This means building council houses. Lots of them. So it’s great to see that in 'Housing for the Many' John Healey sets about this task. I really like the question he asks. “What more could a Labour Government do to make affordable housing a first choice, not a last resort?”

He hits the nail on the head. At the Grenfell meetings with Ministers, tenants said they were sick and tired of the stigma they get. Sort this out and we’ll make a big dent in the housing crisis. Let’s not forget you can actually build council houses. But you only get to influence other tenures. So it’s the right place to start. What is the lesson of Brexit? The UK government machine, if you can even call it that, is kaput. Labour will only get to do one thing at most in housing. Let’s build.

Universal Credit heavily criticised by public spending watchdog

In a new report, the National Audit Office (NAO) has stated that it is uncertain Universal Credit will ever deliver value for money, and has strongly criticised the Department for Work and Pensions for not recognising the hardship the policy has caused claimants.

Grenfell inquiry – news roundup

The evidence gathering stage of the Grenfell inquiry is now fully underway, and for the past week tenants, fire safety experts, legal experts and business representatives have been presenting their evidence before the panel.

HQN blog: Andrew O’Hagan – The Tower – a review

You’ll find an article about Grenfell in the London Review of Books. To tell you the truth I’d never come across this magazine. So, I did a bit of digging. The Guardian loves it. They say that the LRB is “the most successful – and controversial – literary publication in Europe”. How does it do this?