The Federation’s political engagement this autumn

It’s been a busy few months for the Federation’s political engagement – we provide a summary of our activities over recent months.

18 December 2018

A core part of the Federation’s work on behalf of our members involves building strategically important stakeholder relationships. Our influencing work enables us to shape government policy and political positions so that housing associations can operate in the most favourable context in which to deliver on your business objectives. Strong partnerships with local and national politicians, with the Government and the Opposition, are helping the sector to deliver high-quality affordable homes for all.

Despite the dominance of Brexit over recent months, we have been able to use our political relationships to good effect for the sector.

Prime Minister at the National Housing Summit

Months of careful engagement with Number 10 resulted in the Prime Minister accepting our invitation as keynote speaker at the National Housing Summit in September.

The Prime Minister’s attendance was not only significant because of its profile, but also because of the announcements she made, renewing her government’s commitment to the sector by announcing:

  • an additional £2bn in long-term funding
  • a call for housing associations to take the lead in large-scale developments
  • an appeal to all to tackle the stigma felt by some social housing tenants.

Party conferences

The Federation's annual presence at the party political conferences this September and October brought housing association chief executives together with the Housing Minister Kit Malthouse MP, and his shadow, the Labour spokesperson Sarah Jones MP.

We also hosted a dinner with Toby Lloyd, Housing Adviser at Number 10, gaining further insight and advice on how to push for reform to our unfair land market.

Autumn Budget

Land formed the central part of the Federation's submission to November's Budget. While we did not see the reforms we have been calling for adopted this time around, the Chancellor's statement did deliver some welcome investment to support the rollout of Universal Credit, and announced the next wave of Homes England strategic partnerships.

Kate Henderson’s political outreach

It is important too to note the extensive, but quieter, behind-the-scenes engagement that the Federation also undertakes with civil servants.

Our Chief Executive Kate Henderson met with civil servants including Jeremy Pocklington, Director General of Housing at MHCLG, and Nick Walkley of Homes England, during her first few months in the role. 

This is alongside her meetings with the Housing Minister, ministers and the Secretary of State at the DWP, and John Healey MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Housing.

Continued engagement with key politicians

This autumn, the Federation has continued to prioritise engagement with key Opposition and devolved authority figures, as well as with Government. We have held productive meetings with:

  • Rebecca Long-Bailey MP, tipped as a future leader of the Labour Party
  • James Murray, Deputy Mayor of London for Housing.

Federation representatives also have given evidence to a number of Parliamentary select committees over the past few months, representing the sector on rural housing, coastal communities, and leasehold reform.

Looking ahead to next year

From our engagement this autumn, we have picked up growing interest in shared ownership, ongoing questions around accountability flowing from the Social Housing Green Paper, and calls for more partnership working. Put together with expectations around delivery, the themes of trust and reputation look set to be ones which will hold importance into the new year.

Get in touch

If you’d like to get involved in our influencing work, or find out what’s coming up, get in touch with our public affairs team