Government plans affecting Council Housing

Shortfall of 500,000 affordable homes if budget is cut, warns housing group

The government will struggle to build even half of its target of a million affordable homes by 2020 if the housing budget is not exempted from public spending cuts, a housing campaign group says. If the cuts to the house-building budget suggested by November’s pre-budget report go ahead, the number of affordable homes built by 2020 will be 444,000, says the National Housing Federation. The NHF is calling on Gordon Brown to make the house building budget ‘untouchable’ and give it the same status as hospitals, schooling and policing, areas the government said in November it would ringfence while it cut back spending in other areas.

Councils told to rethink housing

Local authorities should not adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach when granting planning permission for housing, and should move away from the approach to planning policy that led to large-scale construction of high-density flats on urban brownfield land, according to a report from the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit (NHPAU), a quango set up to advise government on housing policy. The NHPAU looked at the development of housing in a variety of densities and locations and concluded that while high-density housing was sometimes the most valuable, it often was not.

10 years to clear council housing waiting lists

Over 10 years to clear council housing waiting lists

One in four English local authorities would take more than 10 years to house everyone on their council housing waiting list, it was revealed today.

Shelter says a total of 82 authorities would take between a decade and 33 years to clear their waiting lists, or until 2019 to 2042.

With the national waiting list reaching almost 1.8 million households, but only just over 270,000 homes let nationally last year, the average time for all councils to end their lists would be almost seven years.

Of the 355 local authorities, Barnet, in North West London, would take the longest to house everyone on its waiting list at more than 33 years, followed by Redbridge in East London at more than 32 years, and Brent on 25 years.

Shelter has blamed the severe shortage of affordable homes, and has called on political parties to make housing a top election priority.

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Rent a serviced office in Essex

What do you get in a serviced office?

It has been a while since we last wrote and there have been some major changes to serviced offices in the past 12 months, which is why we wanted to tell you what you get in a serviced office.  With the economy now picking up there has been a massive uptake in serviced offices and thus availability has greatly reduced and the prices are now slowly creeping up.

Are serviced offices still value for money?

The answer is simply yes.  However to understand why a serviced office is a better solution you should look at what you get in a serviced office.  Regus, who are one of the monist well known and have over a hundred serviced offices in the UK offer a complete solution.  This solution is generally replicated throughout the serviced office providers but with their own incentives:

The Modern OfficeThe BBC has recently put out an article on how the modern office was invented I suspect evolution of business practices and modern technology had a part to play in how the modern office looks. I recently visited our accountant and on entering his office it instantly reminded me of the old transport office I use to work in back in the early 90′s. There were files everywhere and everything was on paper. Back in the early 90′s mobile phones and email were in their infancy and no one trusted anything stored on computers.

Backups and Storage

Now some of the more modern day offices show amazing efficiency in space and are almost sparse due to the lack of paper. But the debate continues, should we go paperless or should we keep a paper backup? With modern technology a good backup system should mean you don’t loose anything. However, most people believe they have a good backup until something goes wrong. There are many document storage companies and tape storage companies for data back ups but ensuring that they are cataloged correctly is part of the problem when making backups.

The Russian spy agencies have now also decided to go back to the old methods of a typewriter rather than computers as the sensitive nature of the documentation could be compromised, no system is safe to a clever, dedicated and focused hacker.

Could we mix and match?

But with all the downsides of paper etc could we operate a paper / technology office? sending emails and then printing them out would seem a financial and environmental waste. Gone are the days of standing over a fax machine sending a 20 page document to 10 people and taking all day let alone the communication errors and having to resend various pages because the receiving fax was out of paper.

Personally I like the paperless office (except for the odd doodle or note). I believe it promotes a tidier working environment and thus a cleaner way of thinking. But remembering the file name of a document I sent to a client some time back in June last year remains a challenge.

New way of working in offices

Traditionally, people would go their office and use facilities such as printers, faxes, copiers, vending machines without thinking twice. However, in these modern technological times, companies are embracing technology to create a more streamlined office in a quest to become more and more ‘paperless’.

Cost Savings

As the chancellor looks to government agencies for cuts in their budgets, its not just the public sectors which looks to make savings.  Many private businesses in the UK and overseas look to save money, whether that be through costs savings in budgets, staffing costs, technology costs or even facilities costs.

The Decision to move your office space

Choosing to relocate your business to new office space is no easy decision to make and can impact significantly on your employees, your customers and your suppliers.

But if you feel you have outgrown your current office space and this is hindering your expansion plans you may have no alternative. It is a good idea to make a note of your key requirements before approaching a letting agency so you have a clear idea of exactly what you are looking for and more importantly how much you are willing and able to pay.

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Home Removals – “Helping you take the next big step”

We know the worry and stress that moving house can bring, and that’s before you’ve even begun the job of moving your possessions. That’s why we offer a personalised home removal service, designed to help you every step of the way.


Before your move begins, we’ll provide you with a designated manager for your move who will provide you all the details upfront. This ensures that your move is more efficient and you won’t have to worry about anything. There are never any hidden costs when it comes to using our removal service and our staff are very happy to go the extra mile to ensure you have great peace of mind.


Whether you’re just moving down the road or further afield, we can help. We may do large-scale removals, but we always provide a friendly, personal service. We are members of the British Association of Removers, meaning that you can trust us to deliver a high-quality, honest service from start to finish.

Benefits of Choosing Peck’s

  • Free quotations given
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  • Removals throughout Essex

Moving Out? Read our top cleaning tips

Emergency End of Tenancy Cleaning – Ideas and hints

You must remember the very first moments of your tenant life.

Try to remind yourself that instead of the rent, you have paid an extra sum of money that is usually known as the tenant deposit. It guarantees the host and the property owner that you will return the house, studio or small apartment in the condition you have obtained it.

Never forget this detail of the contract and agreement you have achieved with the agency or the host and arrange your End of Tenancy Cleaning in advance, so no surprises or lost money will ruin your end of tenant life.

However, there is a big possibility for you to perform an emergency End of Tenancy Cleaning.

You may forget about this household chore or you may be rushed by the time because of some other circumstances. The most important thing is to manage to organize a thorough and top-to-bottom cleaning in your future ex home.

Here are some good ideas and wise hints for the emergency and fast End of Tenancy Cleaning:

  • Calculate the time you have and spend equal periods for each of the rooms. Never underestimate any of the premises in the house, because they all need to be tidied, washed, and wiped.
  • Concentrate harder on the following tasks – stain removal, dust removal, rearranging, getting rid of the mold, and window cleaning.
  • Hire somebody else – you will probably need assistance removing all of that old furniture for safe disposal.
  • Be precise and wise – do not “hide” the dirtiness, but remove it – never heap up the grime at one place and never skip to clean the furniture from the inside and from the outside.
  • Finish the operation of the emergency End of Tenancy Cleaning with refreshing and hygienic efforts – air the house, disinfect, sanitize, and have a final walk through the rooms for check and repeated cleaning tasks.

Do you have any advice to help those reaching the end of their tenancy? Get in contact with our housing experts to share the news.

Essex Council Housing Support

Housing related support services

Housing Related Support services (formerly Supporting People) are funded by Essex County Council and are for people who need help to live independently.

Some people feel that they need extra support for a number of reasons. These could be because of your age, any disability, sensory or hearing impairment, poor physical or mental health, or because of a drink or drug problem. Or perhaps you have experienced domestic violence.

The Essex Housing Related Support Team funds a range of organisations to deliver housing related support services for vulnerable people who need help to live independently within their communities.

These services deliver high quality housing related support services across the county. Information about the services is available from these district council offices:

What services are available?

You may for example, have a housing related support need because of your age, disability, mental health or vulnerability, you may have experienced domestic violence, be leaving care, or at risk of homelessness or offending.

A housing related support service can, for example, help prevent people losing their home by enabling them to stay safe and secure. This includes offering support with dealing with rent arrears, budgeting, life skills, accessing training, education and employment.

Support services can also help with independent living skills, for example accessing benefits and local community resources including health and leisure services.

Examples of the type of support services include:

  • assisting people with the security of their homes
  • assisting people with personal safety in their homes
  • enabling people to undertake minor repairs and organise the servicing of their own equipment
  • life skills training, such as support to get domestic skills
  • helping people with social skills, such as motivational support and preventing loneliness and social isolation
  • assisting people with dealing with other people such as landlords, other tenants and a range of professionals
  • assisting people with personal budgeting
  • supporting people with neighbour disputes
  • support with moving to more independent accommodation

Who provides them?

These services are overseen by the Housing Related Support Team who work with local organisations who can assess your needs and provide the right support for you.

In short-term services of less than two years, you do not have to pay for your housing related support services. If you need longer-term support and you do not get housing benefit or council tax benefit, you may have to pay towards this support.

Home Improvement Agencies

Home Improvement Agencies (HIA) help older people, people with disabilities, and people with a low income, obtain much-needed repairs and adaptations to their home.

They also provide a range of other services to meet local needs, and may be able to offer advice on energy efficiency, security, benefits, health, housing options, and handyperson services. Contact the agency in your area to find out what help and support is available to you.

Floating Support Service

A countywide Floating Support Service for a range of clients, aged 16-64, who need housing-related support to help them with tasks such as:

  • preventing them losing a tenancy;
  • moving to more suitable accommodation;
  • accessing other services, ie daytime activities;
  • support to access the community;
  • help with other general housing-related matters.

The services do not offer care but cover housing related support and preventative work.

An assessment will be carried out for prospective clients to decide the level of support needed.  It may be time-limited or could be longer-term – up to 2 years – to help maintain someone in their own home.

Contact details of providers can be found on the factsheet below.