Hinterland - 21 August 2018

Do you feel everything is half baked at the moment because of the holidays, or the weather or because life for rural dwellers is becoming increasingly less good very fast?!!! In Hinterland we comment on: a poorly thought through response to rising adult care costs, time to get real over the fact that people don’t want to live where planners often want to put them, the death of the wood stove, cash machine bandits, an egregious and growing practice amongst private landlords and some scary beards. Read on.....

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Government's 'care Isa' plan dismissed by Tory health committee chair

I really like Sarah Wollaston and I think her comments here help put this piece of thinking, as potentially part of the solution to the huge challenge (which is bankrupting local authorities) of funding adult social care, back into the THINK AGAIN box. This story tells us…

A senior Tory MP has dismissed proposals for a “care Isa” after it emerged that ministers were considering a tax-free personal savings scheme to cover the rising costs of caring for an ageing population.

Dr Sarah Wollaston, who chairs the Commons health and social care select committee, said the plans were “a colossal mistake” that would only serve as a solution “for a small minority of wealthy people”.

The policy proposal for the new Isa, to be outlined in the government’s upcoming social care green paper, would allow any unspent funds in the Isa after death to be passed on tax free to the holder’s family.

At present, when an individual dies, any money left in an Isa investment is automatically rolled into their remaining estate, which is potentially subject to the inheritance tax rate of 40%.

By axing inheritance tax on the accounts ministers hope that it would encourage pensioners to hold on to their savings into old age, when they are more likely to need to pay for nursing homes and round-the-clock care.

But Wollaston dismissed the plans, revealed in the Sunday Telegraph, as little more than a way to help the well-off pay for their care needs.


Government £200m brownfields building fund falls flat, as number of new homes declines

People want to live on the fringe of towns and cities – this story reinforces for me the futility of a development mind-set which seeks to pickle rural places in aspic….It tells us:

£200million Government fund to pay for more homes on industrial land has resulted in the opposite effect, with fewer homes built on brownfield areas than before it was set up.

Official Government’s land use change statistics show that the proportion of new homes registered on previously developed land has fallen by 4 percentage points since 2014, when the fund was set up.

Yet over the same period the number of new residential addresses on supposedly heavily protected Green Belt land has increased by the same proportion - 4 per cent.

Separately, over the same period – 2013/14 to 2016/17 – the proportion of new residential addresses on the protected Green Belt land increased from 3 per cent to 4 per cent of all new homes built.

The Government’s record on building on brownfield sites was attacked by Labour which said minister’s commitment to building on brownfield sites was “hot air”.

The £200million fund was announced by Brandon Lewis, the current Tory party chairman and then then-Housing minister, in August 2014 so “councils across the country can now team up with developers and bid for government assistance to build thousands of new homes on previously-developed land”.

Mr Lewis published bidding criteria to create 10 housing zones on brownfield land, each able to deliver up to 2,000 new homes each.

The new zones, which will be outside London, should be large enough to deliver 750 to 2,000 properties and would help councils boost housebuilding on previously-developed land while safeguading the countryside, he said.


Crackdown on wood-burning stoves and open fires may lead to a 'black market'

We need some rural proofing in the context of this story – not sure how much pollution the 300 or so spread out souls in my village face from burning wood….

Ministers have admitted that plans for a crackdown on pollution created by open fires and wood burning stoves could lead to an effective "black market" in wet wood.

The Government yesterday announced plans to end the sale of wet wood amid concerns that it is largest single contributor to particulate matter pollution, which has been identified as the most damaging air pollutant.

According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, domestic burning contributes 38 per cent of particulate matter pollution, compared to 16 per cent from industrial combustion and only 12 per cent from road transport. Ministers therefore propose to ensure that, in future, only the cleanest fuels are available...


Thieves leave hole in the wall after using stolen tractor to rip out cash machine from listed building

Ive seen evidence of this sort of behaviour in a small town called Caistor before and I can assure you its scary and some of the people involved are desperate. Rural crime has a nature all of its own

A woman had a lucky escape when thieves used a stolen tractor to pull a cash machine out of a wall below her flat, leaving a gaping hole in the building.

Nearby residents were woken just after 4am as the gang targeted the cash machine on a corner in the quiet historic town of Beaminster, Dorset.

The occupant of the flat above escaped unhurt as the attackers gouged out part of the listed building that housed a bespoke kitchens and furniture business.


Hundreds of families made homeless by landlords cashing in on rising property prices, data suggests

This is one of the reasons why the private rented sector may not offer the solution to too few places to live in rural villages and small towns. It’s a desperately sad thing to lose your home in these circumstances.

Hundreds of families are being made homeless as landlords seek to benefit from rising property prices or increase rents, new data has revealed.

Eviction figures analysed by pressure group Generation Rent suggested 216 households were becoming homeless in England every week because of so-called “no fault” evictions.

A no fault clause allows landlords to close a tenancy – generally at the end of a contract – without needing a reason such as rent arrears or property damage.

Generation Rent said the end of a private tenancy was now the biggest cause of homelessness across the country, with the number of cases more than trebling from 4,580 to 16,320 between 2009 and 2017.

The analysis, reported in The Observer, claimed that 94 per cent of the rise could be blamed on no-fault evictions, which have more than doubled since 2009.

The findings came after the government launched a £100m strategy to end rough sleeping by 2027 earlier this month.

More than 50,000 people have signed a petition launched by Generation Rent to scrap no fault clauses, which fall under section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act.


Beards galore at British championships

Have a look at these beards. I like hirsute folks myself and have been called a “bearded rural loon”, but some of these creations are a bit creepy me thinks….. The story tells us:

Merlin's beard! More than 200 hirsute competitors from around the world have been taking part in the fourth British Beard and Moustache Championships in Blackpool.



About the author:
Hinterland is written for the Rural Services Network by Ivan Annibal, of rural economic practitioners Rose Regeneration.


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