By Alistair McIntosh, HQN CEO.

The Chancellor’s Growth Plan is not for everyone. In his own words Kwasi Kwarteng wants to “liberate the private sector” and on the other hand “streamline the public sector.”

By streamline I do not think he has in mind the sleek British steam trains of yesteryear that broke all speed records. Chances are, we are facing brutal cuts.

Business plans of landlords across the UK will simply have less cash thanks to some form of voluntary or mandatory rent cap. How could it be otherwise when tenants are struggling? At the same time landlord costs are soaring. So, your finances are in effect shot from both sides.

All of this is happening just as the new regulatory regime cranks into life in England. The Ombudsman is advertising for 30 more adjudicators. While the Regulator will be measuring trends in satisfaction, repairs and safety.

This means there’s pressure on cost and quality. There’s no hiding place. So we can’t kick the can down the road on major repairs like we did the last time there was a rent cut. The RSH reports that spending on these works fell by 14% in 2017. You’d be straight on prime-time TV if you tried that today.

How will streamlining play out? I expect it will lead to demands for more mergers across housing associations. There may be attempts to amalgamate councils too. These measures may indeed save money but are certainly not quick or easy fixes. You can’t fail to notice that Clive Betts’ select committee recently called instead for more local services.

It’s time for a rethink about how landlords are organised. A few years ago, we ran a Form Follows Function consultation for PlaceShapers.

Here we make the case for repeating this exercise and asking for your help. We’ve already had a strong response. Proper streamlining would involve testing to make sure form did really follow function. Be good to have you on board.