Robert Jenrick hits out at housing executive pay

Secretary of state for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick has taken aim at executive pay in the social housing sector.
Robert Jenrick MP (Demo)

Secretary of state for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick has used his closing speech at the Housing 2021 event in Manchester to take aim at excessive executive pay in the social housing sector. Jenrick called for a “renewal of the ideas of the pioneers of the sector,” adding that “it is clear there need to be changes” to the way some executives are compensated. “There are a small minority who give the name of the sector a bad image, Jenrick said.

He added: “The vast majority do a very good job for your tenants.”

In common with many other speakers at this year’s event, Jenrick was also keen to shine a light on the government’s decarbonisation agenda. “The housing sector is rising to the decarbonisation challenge, but we have to accept that it is a very difficult challenge to meet,” he said. “I believe that no local authority can be serious about net-zero if they don’t have a local plan,” he said.

On housing delivery, Jenrick said the UK was “in touching distance” of delivering the number of homes needed and claimed that as many as 250,000 more families now enjoy the “security and pride” of owning their own home thanks to the government’s actions.

Jenrick also issued a call to action on homelessness, urging local authorities to review their plans on homelessness, if they had not already done so.

The secretary of state also yesterday sought to reassure local authorities about the planned scrapping of Section 106 agreements – the fees which developers are required to pay to councils to provide affordable housing elsewhere in lieu of providing it within their own developments – in favour of a single, consolidated levy: “This [levy] places all of the cards in the hands of the council,” he insisted. “They can set [the levy] up at the same level of funding they’re receiving today through S106 and CIL, or higher.”

Jenrick also suggested that developers in hot spots like Manchester and London might have to pay more in the future.

“In areas of higher land values, I suspect councils will go higher, perhaps significantly higher…ensuring that money goes to affordable housing, and wider investments in infrastructure and the public good.”

He added that the consolidated levy would provide additional transparency for all parties in the planning process and “end the debate on viability”.

“In all bar the most exceptional circumstances, the most complex sites, it would be very clear what the developer has to pay, there will be no way to wriggle out of it,” he said.

 

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