Aug 202018
 

THE GREAT MYSTERY OF HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS

I have written about housing associations dozens of times. One of the many things that intrigued me was their legal status – were they public bodies or private companies? For on the one hand they enjoyed the benefit of public funding (and lots of it), yet were exempt from public scrutiny and Freedom of Information legislation, just like private companies.

From my inquiries into housing associations I concluded that they enjoyed the best of both worlds.

But this idyll was threatened in late 2015 when the Office for National Statistics surprised us all by deciding that – by falling into line with EU accounting rules – Registered Social Landlords (the more official name for housing associations) in England should be reclassified from Private Non-Financial Corporations to Public Non-Financial Corporations. (Wales and Scotland would also be affected.)

This certainly surprised me, and the revelation that housing associations were regarded as private companies also surprised those who had innocently assumed that publicly-funded providers of social housing, owning for the most part stock they had inherited from local authorities, were already public bodies.

From the Guardian, October 2015, click to enlarge

In addition to surprising some, the change also annoyed a number of people, not least the man in No 11 Downing Street, because it meant that £60bn of housing association debt would be added to the UK’s public indebtedness. Within the sector there were concerns that reclassification would mean, among other things, that housing associations would now be open to public scrutiny.

But if nothing else, this move by the ONS clarified the status of these mysterious bodies. They had been private, the ONS wanted to make them public, and now the race was on to find a way of reversing the ONS decision.

England led the way and in November 2017 the ONS announced that once the new measures had passed into law housing associations would be reclassified once again as private bodies. Wales followed suit in June this year with the Regulation of Registered Social Landlords (Wales) Act 2018. Despite the title, the purpose of this legislation is in fact to deregulate housing associations so that there is no possibility of them being considered public bodies.

ALL CHANGE

Before delving into the Act, let me make a few things clear. It would be easy to think that if housing associations were private bodies that were briefly deemed to be public bodies by the ONS and are now reclassified as private, then surely we’re back where we started? Er, no . . . there have been many changes, significant and worrying changes.

These are encapsulated in ‘About the Bill’ in the ‘Overview’ introduction to the legislation, where it says:

click to enlarge

It tells us clearly that to satisfy the Office for National Statistics “The purpose of the Bill is to amend or remove those powers which are deemed by the Office for National Statistics (“ONS”) to demonstrate central and local government control over Registered Social Landlords (RSLs).”

For those who find it difficult to wade through the full legislation (which I guess is some 99% of us) here’s a more manageable ‘Guide’ in which I’ve highlighted certain sections that I shall now focus on in order to discuss what I consider to be a very worrying direction of travel.

Let’s turn to the highlighted document.

Paragraphs 13, 15, 18 and 20 all list circumstances or situations in which housing associations no longer need the consent of ‘Welsh Ministers’. This is not a reference to a conclave of Nonconformist preachers but to the clowns down Cardiff docks who want us to think of them as the ‘Welsh Government’. (In reality they are just England’s management team in Wales.)

In practice, it means that a Registered Social Landlord in Wales is now free to make any change it likes to its rules, merge with another company, transfer its “engagements” (assets?) to another company, or go into liquidation, all without needing the approval of the ‘Welsh Ministers’.

Paragraphs 33 and 34 however gives the ‘Welsh Ministers’ power to both remove and appoint officers of RSLs, even if that housing association is a company. Which strikes me as a little odd, and would appear to contradict the expressed objective of removing the powers of local and central government.

As do paragraphs 40, 42 and 43 which also give or retain powers for the ‘Welsh Ministers’. These include the right to compel a RSL “to transfer management functions to a person specified by them (the ‘Welsh Ministers’)”. They can also appoint a manager and forcibly amalgamate RSLs.

Further paragraphs are in the same vein until we come to 61, which is worth thinking about, for it gives the ‘Welsh Ministers’ the power to show favouritism to certain housing associations at the expense of others.

Paragraph 63 suggests that housing associations are now free to hide “disposal proceeds” in the accounts, proceeds that will almost certainly have been paid for out of public funds. What’s more, ‘Welsh Ministers’ have no say in how the money – public money – is to be used.

click to enlarge

Paragraphs 64, 71, 73 and 78 reiterate that local authorities – that is, the democratically elected bodies serving the areas in which housing associations operate – no longer have any influence in the running of RSLs.

WHAT WILL IT MEAN IN PRACTICE?

In a nutshell, Serendipity presented the ‘Welsh’ Government with an opportunity to extend its power in areas where the Labour Party is as popular as Boris Johnson at a Remoaner Wail-in and Carwyn and his gang grabbed the chance with both hands.

Or to look at it from another angle, an allegedly socialist political party has no qualms about privatising bodies holding and managing public assets.

Let’s deal with the power grab first. Despite being the party with the most MPs and AMs, and the party of power in Cardiff docks, Labour controls just twelve of Wales’ twenty-two local authorities. And none in the south west, the north west or the centre.

As I’ve explained on this blog a number of times, Labour overcomes its lack of representation – and consequently influence – through the power of patronage and funding. The third sector being a prime example, controlled via public funding dished out by the Labour management team in Cardiff docks the third sector is stuffed with Labour’s cronies and operates across the country. Whether it’s the Citizens Advice Bureau in Gwynedd or one of the countless ‘homelessness’ charities fighting over rough sleepers Labour uses the third sector to give it influence in areas where it has little electoral support.

The same can be said of housing associations. There are certain RSLs aligned with Labour and these are rewarded with extra funding and encouragement to take over housing associations that are not run by Labour Party supporters. One example I’ve dealt with a number of times was the takeover of Cantref, based in Castell Newydd Emlyn, by Wales and West Housing of Cardiff, run by the wife of a Cardiff Labour councillor. (A woman who insists on appearing in almost every photograph.)

One curb on the excesses of such Labour shenanigans was the involvement of local, non-Labour councillors, in the running of housing associations operating on their patch. But as we’ve seen, the new Act removes that involvement.

click to enlarge

But the Act entrenches the power of the ‘Welsh’ Government to interfere of behalf of Labour-connected RSLs. For example, it’s no secret that Wales and West wants to take over Tai Ceredigion. The minister responsible could remove Tai Ceredigion’s CEO, replace him with a Labour stooge, who could then announce that the best option for Tai Ceredigion would be a merger with Wales and West Housing.

I’ve focused on Wales and West but I could have mentioned any number of other housing associations that are obviously Labour in their political orientation but tend to operate in one area, unlike Wales and West, which has a national reach, active in 15 of our 22 local authority areas.

GYPSY JAC GAZES INTO HIS CRYSTAL BALL

With housing associations deregulated, local authority influence removed, and the Labour Party able to control the whole shooting match, Wales could be facing a bleak future.

Let’s take Gwynedd, an area where Labour’s support is largely limited to academics and students around the alien university in Bangor. In the near future Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd (which inherited Gwynedd’s social housing stock) could be taken over by Labour Party appointees, who then sign contracts with English local authorities and RSLs to help them bring down their waiting lists for social housing. Something the new legislation allows RSLs to do.

So Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd goes on a building spree with borrowed money.

But it eventually becomes clear that Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd has bitten off more than it can chew and it goes into voluntary liquidation owing millions of pounds to lenders. So who is now responsible for that debt? Is it the ‘Welsh’ Government – in other words, you and me?

One of the objections to the reclassification as public bodies was that such a move would restrict housing associations’ ability to borrow money. Though Welsh RSLs have in the past borrowed very little from commercial lenders – that wasn’t repaid by the ‘Welsh’ Government – because they don’t need to. They have the guaranteed income from their housing stock, a stock that in most cases was paid for out of public funds, and as we know, this income is supplemented by handouts from the ‘Welsh’ Government.

So what becomes of these handouts now? Will deregulated private housing associations still receive public funding every year?

Will this and other grants still be paid to our now privatised housing associations, or is it time for another update? (Click to enlarge.)

Another consideration might be that Welsh RSLs are also free to enter into agreements with those London boroughs currently engaged in social cleansing. Which could mean that a Welsh RSL in receipt of your money would be helping move people from London to Wales.

The new Act also allows RSLs to dispose of their ‘engagements’ and land assets. So what redress is there if, for example, Mid Wales Housing sells off land or property to RSLs based in the English West Midlands and these bodies then move many of their less ‘sociable’ tenants into places like Meifod and Llanwrtyd?

Clearly, the temptation is now there for Welsh RSLs to borrow unwisely and to over-extend themselves, which may well serve a certain agenda.

I say that because most people agree that we have too many housing associations. There are ten operating in Neath Port Talbot, six in Conwy, and no less than fifteen in Cardiff.

Obviously, the total number must be reduced, and the new Act makes it easier to undermine RSLs not favoured by Labour – as was done with Cantref – and to force through mergers. Which is what I predict will happen in the coming years, and it will be justified in the name of ‘rationalisation’.

What will be glossed over is the fact that the only housing associations left standing at the end of this process will be those run by Labour Party members and supporters. For make no mistake, the Regulation of Registered Social Landlords (Wales) Act 2018 gives the Labour Party more opportunities to extend its malign influence through giving its hangers-on preferential treatment.

But this is how a one-party state operates – supporters are rewarded and non-supporters compromised or intimidated.

LABOUR’S NUCLEAR OPTION

But the starkest and most dangerous reminder of the one-party state could, paradoxically, come when most people think the power of the Labour Party in Wales has finally been broken. A case of the cornered beast.

I can see a situation, maybe as early as the Assembly elections of 2021, that sees Labour without a majority and unable to cobble together a coalition. The ‘Welsh’ Labour Party will then be in opposition down Cardiff docks.

It is at this point that all the scheming and placements, all the bribes and sinecures, bear fruit, and all the favours will be called in. For it will be when Labour is in opposition that we see the benefit of having a bloated third sector, of filling housing associations with its people, of generally building up a network of supporters and funding recipients, everyone from Mrs Tiggy-Winkle’s Hedgehog Rescue Service to Côr Meibion Cwmscwt.

For I predict with absolute certainty that when Labour loses control of the Assembly it will not accept defeat gracefully. The party will begin a campaign of guerilla warfare to undermine the new administration. Wrecking Wales will be acceptable collateral damage, because the party comes first.

Labour’s foot-soldiers in this dirty war will be its supporters in the sectors and networks the party has carefully built up over the past twenty years, including the deregulated RSLs, and these will be backed by a media that is either Labour-leaning or else a BritNat propaganda outlet for which Labour – as a Unionist party – is far more acceptable than what may have replaced Labour.

Making it easier for Wales to be made ungovernable through vindictive factionalism could be an important consequence of the Regulation of Registered Social Landlords (Wales) Act 2018.

♦ end ♦

 

  36 Responses to “The Privatisation of Welsh Housing Associations”

  1.  

    The likely scenario which you describe at the end does, if memory serves, have some precedents.

    Others may remember it better than I do, but I seem to recall that, when the people of Merthyr Tudful finally kicked Labour out of power there at the beginning of the eighties, the comrades in the local government unions launched a series of nakedly political ‘strikes’ which succeeded in bringing down the Plaid administration which was trying to put right the neglect and corruption of decades within a matter of a few months.

    Now the unions are largely powerless, Labour has its trusties and agents in a wide variety of supposedly accountable (at least, up till now) organisations which can cause even more disruption, and at a national level.

    •  

      You can bet on it. Voting Labour out is one thing. Rooting out the networks of Labour patronage will be quite another. But we’ll know what to expect, and the third sector can be culled with vast savings of public money that can be put to better use. Opposing this will expose the self-serving bastards for what they are.

  2.  

    When the Bill was being scrutinised by Assembly committees and the public invited to comment I did forward my observations to Welsh Government. I think my “pearls of wisdom” fell on deaf ears. I have copied the notes that I sent at the time to Welsh Government below. I sometimes wonder whether Assembly Committee members that scrutinise new legislation can see the bigger picture that you have outlined in your post Jac. Sorry about the length of my notes below. I have used the copy and paste function so I hope there are no formatting errors.

    Subject: Regulation of Registered Social Landlords {Wales} Bill

    To: Welsh Government – Senior Regulation Strategy Manager – Ian Walters

    I refer to the above subject. You advised in your communication dated 22 June 2017 that the Regulatory Impact Assessment {RIA} would be available for scrutiny when finalised. The decision by Welsh Government to present your Explanatory Memorandum, incorporating RIA and Explanatory Notes, to the National Assembly before giving the general public an opportunity to comment is viewed as an attempt to avoid public scrutiny of your proposals. Your attention is drawn to recommendation 8 of National Assembly Finance Committee Report dated October 2017 which recommends that the Welsh Government should provide draft R I as part of the consultation it undertakes in developing legislative proposals, and that it should review its wider strategy and advice to Bill teams regarding engagement with stakeholders to emphasise that this should be undertaken as early as possible.

    Following the decision by Office of National Statistics {ONS} to re-classify Housing Associations in Wales as public non-financial corporations Welsh Government consider it necessary to amend statutes / regulations to enable ONS to review their decision and revert to the current classification: private non-financial corporation sub-sector. The RIA presented aims to justify the proposed change in statutes / regulations.

    Having now examined the documentation I offer the following observations under the respective sub-headings.

    Methodology
    The appraisal is fundamentally flawed. The methodology conflicts with requirements for economic appraisal and evaluation as set out in H M Treasury “Green Book” implemented in Wales through the “five case business model”. That requires a Benefit v Cost analysis to be undertaken with future costs and monetary benefits discounted to present value using the Treasury discount rate. Your attention is drawn to recommendation 6 of National Assembly Finance Committee Report dated October 2017 which recommends that the Welsh Government improve its quality assurance processes by ensuring more thorough internal scrutiny of R I As before they are laid before the Assembly.

    Appraisal period
    RIA appraisal period of 5 years is totally inappropriate for new statutes / regulations that are likely to be in place for an extended timeframe well in excess of 5 years. Please refer to recommendation 4 of National Assembly Finance Committee Report dated October 2017 which recommends that the Welsh Government should confirm whether it intends to use the Well-being of Future Generations Act as a framework for preparing RIAs, including measuring impact over a longer term.

    Subordinate legislation
    The statement that “Welsh Government will consult where it is considered appropriate to do so” requires clarification. Recommendations 12 and 13 of National Assembly Finance Committee Report dated October 2017 recommends that the Welsh Government notify the Assembly where subordinate legislation laid before the Assembly significantly alters the costs of the associated primary legislation, and that the Welsh Government commit to providing as full a picture of the costs of subordinate legislation as possible when proposing primary legislation.

    Future regulation of Housing Associations
    Your statement that recent changes to the regulatory framework strengthens your approach to regulation appears to conflict with your stated objective of relaxing controls to comply with ONS requirements. Your decision to only publish regulatory judgements {a summary document} rather than the regulatory assessment that underpins the judgement calls into question your commitment to openness and transparency. The new regulatory regime is more secretive making scrutiny more difficult. Your proposed legislation will result in a notification requirement rather than the current consent regime while still requiring Housing Association to manage public funds but not subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

    Future funding streams
    Welsh Government have entered into future funding agreements with Housing Associations. These agreements extend well into the future over a timeline of 30 years. I refer to Dowry Gap Funding and Housing Finance Grant. These future costs should be discounted to present value in the analysis. Your RIA appraisal period of 5 years is totally inappropriate for economic appraisal.

    Cost estimates
    Your attention is drawn to recommendation 9 of National Assembly Finance Committee Report dated October 2017 which recommends the Welsh Government ensures that relevant stakeholders are engaged with the process when it creates costings and that stakeholders are able to comment and input on those costings and confirm whether they are in agreement. This again reinforces the need for your draft RIA to be subject to a consultation process prior to presentation to Assembly.

    Post-implementation review
    Your statement regarding post-implementation review requires clarification. Is a review to be undertaken and if so over what timeframe. Recommendation 16 of National Assembly Finance Committee Report dated October 2017 requires Welsh Government to set-out in the RIA a clear process for post-implementation review of the financial estimates, including when and what will be assessed.

    Third Sector Assessment
    Your conclusion that there will be no adverse impact on the third sector requires clarification. Housing Associations are Third Sector Organisations. Welsh Government are required to comply with the code of practice for funding the third sector published as an annex to the “Third Sector Scheme”.

    Welsh Language Impact Assessment
    With regard to the impact on the Welsh Language, the statement that no further action has been identified is extremely disappointing. There is a need to provide evidence to support your assumptions, a need for peer review, external engagement with Welsh speaking groups, identify stakeholders or consultation list, and a need to contact the Welsh Language Unit for advice.

    General Assumptions
    Welsh Government has made various assumptions in an effort to justify proposals. These are based on subjective judgement not objective analysis supported by evidence. For example no evidence has been presented to support the generic statement that housing associations provide affordable housing for “local people”. Many have now set up subsidiaries to build market {not social} housing and other commercial enterprises.

    •  

      I suspect, Wynne, that the deliberations on this legislation were kept in-house as far as possible. What we see in the Act was decided by Carwyn and his gang working with their favourite housing associations.

      I am amazed that people within ‘Welsh’ Labour, plus bruvvers of other political hues, have not raised hell over what is the privatisation of public assets. Those who are now silent would have been outraged if this legislation had been handed down from the Tories up in London.

      But instead we see a socialist party in Wales implementing Tory policies without a quibble because these policies serve the interests of the Labour Party and its cronies in the housing associations. The losers are the non-Labour local authorities and the public.

      Principles!

    •  

      Spectacular piece of analysis there Wynne, and plenty of critical pointers for anyone minded to heed your comments. That the “Plan” might already cut & dried goes without saying but it’s activities such as these that confirm without doubt that we are witnessing a seriously deviant political machine at work. There were times when many of us thought they,Labour, were just a shower of bunglers who were top of the class when producing unintended consequences. However the evidence of deliberate machinations, with odd unintended side-effect, is now overwhelming. Time will run out for us soon. No point hoping for some intervention from London as this fits into their grand plan.

  3.  

    I think you’re right, Jac. Housing will become a major battleground in what passes as Welsh politics. If, by some miracle, a party more sympathetic to Wales’s needs gains power in the Bubble, the conflict will centre around accountability, public funding and housing demographics, and this will lead to total war between this new Welsh Government and the Labour placemen and placewimmin in the RSLs.

    Into the mix will be thrown the issue of excessive and unwanted housebuilding for English commuters by the private sector.

    I can’t see Plaid Cymru having the mettle to cope with such a miasma, but surely the staff of these Labour front-organisations can be replaced by whoever’s in power after Labour kick the bucket? The question is, will Ein Gwlad gain enough political traction, or alternatively will Plaid Cymru develop more of a pro-Wales agenda, before it’s too late?

    •  

      I often feel that the problem with Plaid Cymru is that as a party they have fixed, almost robotic, responses on so many issues and these are often divorced from the reality.

      If we take social housing and housing associations, the Plaid position is: ‘Social housing is for those who cannot afford to buy a home of their own – think poor people – therefore anything done by housing associations must be good. Only Tories or worse would criticise housing associations and social housing provision.’

      The reality of course is that we have housing associations that are extensions of the Labour Party dumping English drug addicts in small towns like Lampeter. We have housing associations using public money to build homes that Wales does not need in order to help meet need in England. We even have housing associations building retirement flats and bungalows for those wishing to retire to Wales but who cannot afford to, or prefer not to, buy. Elsewhere – as with the Ateb Group and Mill Bay Homes – we have public money going to a RSL then being diverted to an unregistered private subsidiary building open market dwellings in Pembrokeshire and advertising them as ‘investments’.

      We have a whole sector that, as long as it does Labour’s bidding when required, is free to do whatever it likes for the rest of the time – with public money. Yet Plaid’s robotic response is, ‘Social housing good. Must not criticise. Must not criticise. Must not criticise.’.

      And it’s not just social housing, it’s the whole third sector. Plaid seems unable to grasp what is thankfully becoming clearer to more and more people. A third sector providing thousands of well-paid jobs that are justified because ‘Wales is poor’ has a vested interest in NOT remedying the poverty that provides the well-paid jobs. Further, the Labour Party has a vested interest in building up a third sector because a) it provides jobs for Labour cronies and b) the poverty that allegedly necessitates this third sector can be blamed on the Tories to the electoral advantage of the Labour Party.

      Plaid’s response? ‘The third sector helps people ‘in need’ therefore it is a good thing and must be supported without question’

      This consensus of self-deception is just begging to be blown apart. Ein Gwlad can and must do it.

  4.  

    The upcoming leadership contest within Plaid should present a splendid opportunity for the membership to install a new leader who could ditch this kind of baggage and reposition Plaid into a much more assertive and critical stance on whole raft of policies including housing associations and the wider spectrum of third sector activities.

    However it won’t happen, not now, not ever. Both Rhun and Adam are just as wedded to daft policies as the present incumbent and her loopy entourage. Their understanding of real world economics and social policy is wholly inhibited by their personal prejudice or predisposition. Price thinks that tax is a key component in getting an economy up and running. Well if you haven’t got any economy of substance you ain’t got much to tax, other than fat salaries of senior public servants, banksters and major corporate execs ( of which there are few in Wales)and they are thrillers with access to all sorts of”mitigation” advice. As Gee and others ( including Einstein)are so fond of saying – repeating the same old behaviours that have previously failed is a surefire route to proving your own madness!! Not much prospect of change there then.

    •  

      Rhun – I will deliver Wylfa Newydd but we don’t want nuclear waste dumped near Cardiff. Protect the Welsh language by building second home enclaves for the Cheshire set on Trearddur Bay.

      Adam – I didn’t vote for the candidate, the party branch didn’t vote for the candidate, so go out and ask the people of Llanelli to vote for the candidate.

      Leanne – More prosecco and inflated salaries for ladies who lunch in the Bae, but can’t do fuck all for single mothers in Tonypandy as they’re suffering because of “austerity see.”

    •  

      Please it would be helpful if you did not tar the whole of the third sector in this way. There are small locally based third sector organisations that do not run in the way you suggest. Some third sector charities are struggling to make change for welsh residents and struggling to get the funds to do this whilst having to wrestle with the likes of large RSls who make out they can so better work than the organisations who are closer to the issues that affect local people living in rural welsh counties.

  5.  

    Adam Price has said: “there will be no no go zones in the party”……are Plaid seeing Ein Gwald as serious opposition now? With the appearance of Plaid and Welsh Labour being pretty much the same….. maybe Plaid will strike out for the existence of the party ……and if they are supposedly concerned about the culture of Wales – strike out for the existence of Wales itself before the final solution is carried out ( i.e. the complete anglification and takeover of Wales)

    PS….It’s only an initial thought….. but could Carwyn Jones and Welsh Labour be taken to the UN Court of Human Rights under indigenous peoples rights and abetting in a foreign takeover of a country. What the hell!……let’s accuse Carwyn and Welsh Labour with genocide by stealth as well.

    Wasn’t the traitor, Tony Blair, the one who repealed the Treason Act?

    Shame…..it seems we can’t get Carwyn for treason ………..the above will do though.

  6.  

    Given the universal popularity of Corbyn among the middle classes of Cardiff, the power of Momentum in the Labour party, the voting history of the Welsh working classes and lack of any serious opposition, I doubt Labour will have any problem securing a large majority in the 2021 assembly elections.
    Just the way I see it.

    •  

      I can’t agree with that analysis.

      To begin with, Corbyn is not too popular in what chooses to call itself the ‘Welsh Labour Party’. Momentum is not quite the force in Wales it is in England.

      Secondly, a few radicals aside, the Welsh working class hasn’t been socialist for decades, if ever. People voted Labour out of self-interest, the belief that Labour in government would put more money in their pocket. Simple as that. No different to black people in the US voting Democrat. Those with agendas to promote can deceive themselves by adding an ideological gloss but the bottom line in the voting cubicle is – ‘Who’s gonna do the best for me?’

      The Welsh working class is socially conservative, anti-immigration, mildly racist and hostile to Europe. Just look at the Ukip vote in the Valleys in the last Euro elections, and how the Valleys and Swansea Bay voted for Brexit. Yet socialists put the Welsh worker in some pantheon alongside his Russian comrades. It’s all bollocks.

      The Labour Party is heading to the same place as the US Democrats, it’s becoming the party of left-wing activists, trade unionists, theoretical socialists, ethnic minorities, and the chattering classes isolated from the real world. Labour in Wales will hold out longer because Wales is more backward, and has few of those in the groups I’ve just listed, not because Wales is socialist.

  7.  

    I’ve seen this business model before.

    If a tenant has a cash shortage and cannot pay things like a utility bill, a loan shark on the estate is employed to cover the debt. However, the tenant is not usually in a position to make repayments on the debt so an arrangement is made with the loan shark to sub-let, or to garner commission from more debt of other vulnerable tenants. The sub-letting sofa surfer or new victim is usually for ‘away’ and is involved in the ancillary but lucrative drugs trade. The loan shark now has tow income streams. But he too, is now dependent on external forces. Firstly on the tenant making payment (but this can be lubricated with fraud or food banks) and secondly on increasing the number of people buying the drugs being distributed from the address. This is in order to cover interest and enforcement.

    It’s called cuckooing.

    It appears to be the same business model being legally employed by PembokeshireHousing – MillBayHomes, and Wales&West. It’s only sustainable as long as more tenants continue to enter into the revenue stream, often by acquisition and augmented by ancillary new builds to sell-off as a contribute to debt repayments. It’s also vital there’s an ever-increasing ‘need’ for new customers, from wherever they can be sourced. It’s a form of debt dilution.

  8.  

    They’ll always vote labour, people can see Tory austerity, grass growing out of the gutters and everything shutting, why would they want more of that?

    •  

      You are overlooking the Ein Gwlad factor. By 2021 we will be a voice in these matters, because given the energy we can muster in three years, things will look decidedly different, and people will not just be given the choice of Labour or Tory (we don’t know if Plaid will be around by then, and as for the Lib Dems & UKIP – well they are already history).

  9.  

    Erm…..mayornick, they are getting precisely what you mention having voted Labour for 100 years.

  10.  

    I see Ms Price who is anti: Brexit, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, Neil McEvoy AM and who is ant-democratic is calling you out as a conspiracy theorist. I did Tweet Ms Price to ask what conspiracy you were theorising – unfortunately Ms Price had no answer to my question and has preferred to block me instead.

    Nothing like debate is there!

    •  

      I suspect that Ms Price may be something of an obsessive and blinkered ‘feminist’. Of whom we have far too many in Wales today.

    •  

      I have to question how Llinos Price or other female senior civil servants were making accusations of ‘being groped by Carl Sargeant AM’, then were only be prepared to make unofficial oral statements to investigation civil servants, and not directly to South Wales Police for sexual assault.

      If such claims are true, bearing in mind these are the most powerful women in Wales, what example does that set of other women far less confident and able to come forward?

      I am also baffled as to why she has not made ‘on oath’ submissions to the IQCI on the chronology and modes of contact she had with the Carl Sargeant AM when he was a minister at the time concurrent when Llinos Price was a ‘Government Liaison Officer’ for Natural Resources Wales.

      For the sake of other women in Wales who suffer while being taken advantage of, she should come clean. If she doesn’t, or the claims are fabricated, then she doesn’t have the right to call herself a ‘feminist’. It is an abomination of the term.

    •  

      I popped over to Ms Price’s twitter account only to find I’m blocked. Don’t know why. These progressives and bastions of tolerance are very intolerant it would seem.

    •  

      I’m surprised Llinos Price is retweeting stuff from Martyn Shrewbury (Swansea Labour Party Momentum).

      A man who was banned from Neath Voice after he created a fake profile for himself under the alias David Rhys Thomas using a photo of a real-life ambulance porter from Lancashire called John Jackson. This ambulance man made the local news after Jackson was shortlisted for a care award.

      A man who falsely claimed he was a Fellow of the Counselling and Psychotherapy Society and the New England Institute of Forensic Hypnosis while practicing as a Swansea quack. He was exposed by Prof. Myron Evans, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Welsh Government.

      A man who was jailed for 32 weeks, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work for the community by Swansea Crown Court. It’s after he admitted twice making false representations to creditors about the true state of his finances. At one stage he had assets of £114,000, including £32,000 in six bank accounts, which he sought to hide from HM Revenue and Customs, a creditor when he filed for bankruptcy.

      It’s a strange bunch that Llinos Price mixes with.

    •  

      Not at all surprised. These assorted fakes, stooges, pseudo-professionals and downright suckers are all happy to step up to the none too onerous task of scribbling gibberish on behalf of their pet politicians. Strange bedfellows on the surface but on single ishoos they are delighted to live by the old saying ” my enemy’s enemy is my butty, see !” Thus you see “radical thinkers” ducking the issue of nuclear waste just because Neil McEvoy has really stuck his formidable oar into that matter and clear blunt analysis don’t go down too well among the prancing popinjays.

      Chuck some other fashionable ishoos on the table and they’ll set about hacking each other to bits. Now there’s a thought …..,……no don’t bother they can manage that themselves once they start competing for the limelight.

  11.  

    Housing Associations are now allowed to pay their board members. the reason given is to make board members more accountable to their role and to increase participation but the real reason is so the chief exec can push forward the changes they want to make that need board approval e.g changes to staff pensions, salary and annual leave allowance as has happened to all staff employed after april 2016 in the RSL where I work.
    Board members are chosen by the chief exec and the number of councillors on the board is being reduced from 4 to 2, which will increase the majority of independent board members mainly made up of ex chief execs, lawyers, GP’s and other such elites that all cosy up with the current chief exec. no union reps or employees sit on the board or have any involvement in important strategic decisions that affect staff terms and conditions.

    •  

      The point of having a board or trustees is that such people are independent of those running the organisation and can take a more detached and strategic view. Giving the power to nominate board members to the chief executive, and paying them, makes them an unnecessary expense serving no useful purpose other than to reinforce the position of the CEO.

    •  

      ……..and neatly drifting to the position so prevalent in FTSE 100 and other large corporates where a .well connected daisy chain of “like-minded” non-execs feed the CEO with more bullshit to bolster wherever groupthink is in vogue, but most important to make sure that the Rewards/remunerations committee make “awards” that keep pace with movements in pay rates driven by global demand for top talent ( irony and sarcasm here is off the scale !) Thus the elite get richer while the rank and file workers get shafted. Nice work when it’s still underwritten by the public purse.

  12.  

    Oh dear ! Just spotted that tweet from earlier today regarding Plaid and its latest spat regarding the nation’s biggest policy dilemma – that trans question, or possibly spectrum of questions. Just to clear the air on my position. I have what is commonly called a cock with a matching set of bollocks, I stand up to piss though I might crouch on the seat if I’m tired. Now this cock is not as big or active as it was say 20 years ago but it remains a cock. If I put on a frock and walked into any of my local pubs or shops it would arouse a bit of a chuckle or an even more robust response. If I went to the local primary/junior school teachers would probably act to stop me getting too close to the pupils. If I tried to use a ladies loo the chances are that other users( real women) would summon Old Bill who would take me away for “due process” . Much what I would expect in our normal humdrum society.

    Men who wish to be women, or women who wish to be men, remain a very small minority so they should be treated as sensitively and gently as possible. However the whole subject of gender spectrum, or whatever other names it goes by, has assumed a massively disproportionate importance in our political and social arenas. Plaid is not alone in giving the matter an exaggerated importance but Plaid is the party that appears most inclined to distract itself from the real big issues that infect our little country. Labour does it as part of a plan to divert our attention, leading a gullible electorate up the garden path. Plaid does to distract itself so it doesn’t have to engage in the intellectually heavier lifting that comes with facing our big, really big challenges.

    Sadly just another small step towards implosion.

    •  

      The issue in Plaid Cymru has arisen because of a clique of bigots who masquerade as feminists. There’s something else going on and it may be motivated by body image of the ladies concerned. Most notable are Helen Mary Jones AM (Mid and West Wales) of the Womens Place Campaign and Cllr Anne Greagsby (Vale of Glamorgan) of Allsorts Alliance. Both have an agenda of female apartheid. It’s a theory based on the false premise that all men are sexual predators and all women are victims.

      I find only one case in Wales in recent years of a person purporting to be of an opposite gender in order to effect sexual assault, and it is here…
      https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/controlling-obsessive-lesbian-tricked-schoolgirls-14264883

      Dafis says “If I put on a frock and walked into any of my local pubs or shops it would arouse a bit of a chuckle or an even more robust response. If I went to the local primary/junior school teachers would probably act to stop me getting too close to the pupils. If I tried to use a ladies loo the chances are that other users (real women) would summon Old Bill who would take me away for due process”.

      Perhaps Dafis is speaking from experience, but in my local pub near Cydweli I have met a male to female transsexual and she was made to feel most welcome by the clientele. I didn’t feel the need to chuckle, just a sense of pride. She was a pioneer of Menter Cwm Gwendraeth and there is no issue with pub toilets in not what door she goes into. I also fail to see what the definition of a ‘real woman’ is. I find varierty.

      Although I am no longer a member of Plaid Cymru being subject to the Llanelli impositions but a woman who inspired my politics many years ago did not posses a ‘functional set of ovaries’ and to her regret was unable to procure children of her own. I was wondering what definition the Plaid Cymru bigots mentioned above have of her. Her physical attributes are the same as that of the Gwendreath transsexual I mention. I respect both and count both as friends.

      It appears that there’s an ‘issue’ over going to the toilet. I find no reason why toilets have to be gender specific, just privacy specific, although there is an issue with legacy buildings. It’s the same legacy which was inherited in South Africa where there used to be separate facilities based on race. Adoption of new-build building regulations will solve this over time.

      Just to confirm the policy of Dyfed Powys Police. If Dafis calls to say there was what appears to be a man using a ladies loo, they would first enquire if an offence has been committed or what makes complainant believe they are a victim of crime. As far as I’m aware the ‘due process’ would be to establish if there are any public order offences or offences against the person. If not, then there is no need to respond.

      The issue affecting public toilets in Llanelli is vandalism, Mamba, Spice, Heroin, and Monkey Dust. It is not cocks and vaginas.

    •  

      Brychan – for the avoidance of doubt read the 1st 2 sentences of my 2nd para. That’s where you get the core of my views. The first paragraph is me blowing off steam about the fuss made about the issue by various factions within the feminist (and feminine ) spectrum where concerns,both real and imaginary, have been inflated into “ishoos”. Where a transitioning person is getting on with that massive physical and mental life change without the glare of hysterical publicity from media and self-seeking politicians then I can’t see grounds for complaint as long as they don’t break the law . As for “due process” that is exactly what is and it goes nowhere if there is no offence to pursue.

  13.  

    I suspect another move behind this change or changes is as mentioned to remove the HA debt from being counted as public sector debt. The other of course is to, in due course privatise ie list on the stock exchanges many of the HA’s, some of which for example London & Quadrant would become some of Britain’s largest quoted property companies.

    This will serve two purposes one of which will be to allow these big and then quoted HA’s to gobble up smaller entities and to move debt from being owed to the govt, via housing loans and such, to being owed to the pension funds and financial organisations. The end result no more council housing/building ever.

    Other unwanted matters will be a huge increase in board pay, and possibly foreign takeovers – what could be more safe than HA’s and their debts secured on residential property?

    It may also have a EU influence behind it as many German type HA’s have been privatised eg GAGFAH and others. GAGFAH incidentally is now based “offshore” in Luxembourg?

    Unrelated topic – Am I the only one who now thinks the Plaid leadership contest is one between people who have little or no connection with the old PC constituency – who does the heartland small c conservative voter now vote for [who once would have been a guaranteed vote in the days of Gwynfor Evans]? a person more concerned about where the children should go to school, being able to buy a house, advance of mainly hostile incomers to the community sometimes the passive aggressive types who say they like the welsh communities [that’s why they came there – little crime, polite society etc] but have no intention of fitting in by learning the language or history and wipe it out by changing to names such as Rose Cottage etc.

    •  

      Sorry to hijack your Housing Associations blog thread Jac, but just to answer ‘D’s remarks, where he/ she said:

      Unrelated topic – Am I the only one who now thinks the Plaid leadership contest is one between people who have little or no connection with the old PC constituency – who does the heartland small c conservative voter now vote for [who once would have been a guaranteed vote in the days of Gwynfor Evans]? a person more concerned about where the children should go to school, being able to buy a house, advance of mainly hostile incomers to the community sometimes the passive aggressive types who say they like the welsh communities [that’s why they came there – little crime, polite society etc] but have no intention of fitting in by learning the language or history and wipe it out by changing to names such as Rose Cottage etc.

      What you list there D is the very reason why Ein Gwlad is being officially launched next Tuesday (the 28th) at the Selwyn Samuel Centre in Llanelli. Only registered supporters are invited, and we ourselves have engaged a camera crew and a production team to do the honours, because the mainstream media can not be trusted with the job. Any more than Plaid Cymru, in it’s present form, can be trusted with our future as a nation in their hands.

      The time for change is overdue and starts now.

    •  

      To answer your ‘Rose Cottage’ question, D.

      It’s not just the settler that anglicises, but the prime mover in this is the institutions that we pay for. The BBC, for example now has a policy of always referring to places in Wales by their recently imposed English name. They only refer to the correct name of a place in the Welsh language, used for millennia by the local population as, “also known as”….

      Morfa Bychan is now “Black Rock Sands”.
      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-45313214

      Llyn y Cwn is now “Foxes Path”.
      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-45284560

      That’s just two examples published on Sunday 26/08/2018. Both examples are within Y Fro Gymraeg. Where, incidentally, idiotic visiting tourists have to be rescued by the efforts and largesse of the local community.

      The reality is that the settler, or outward-bound centre, is more likely to name their real estate after the ‘tourist name’ that which has become default in the ‘official media’. In other words expect buildings named ‘Black Rock Cottage” or “Foxes Bunkhouse”.

      It is not just lack of familiarity with the language but also the colonial approach of UK wide official institutions.

      The people who buy a cottage in Wales and adopt an English name is not just because they are English. If the same people purchased a villa in the French Alps they are more likely to name it “Vue de Gavarnie” than “Rose Cottage”. This is not because they speak French, but because of the status of the location and the way ‘institutions of state’ regard the locality and respect the inherent linguistic heritage.

      Language is not an issue of what words to use. It’s an issue of colonialism.

    •  

      I agree 100% Brychan. It is a deliberate ploy by the media, who in turn are in cahoots with the ‘Deep State’ in England. They are simply following orders.

  14.  

    ….and when cornered Carwyn”at arm’s length”Jones would say;”nothing to do with me I was following orders from Westminster, it’s the fault of all those NGO’s and the Third Sector lot funded by George Soros and all the EU legislation which basically is Welsh government policy and I was waiting for a second Brexit referendum. What could I do?”

    Cyfreithiwr!…. His bardic name should be changed from Aman Ogwr to Carwyn Ass Twll Jones.

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