petej + construction   209

The Attack on Public Housing
The attacks on Osamor, who is black, are undeniably racial but also carry the unpleasant subtext that people who live in social housing should not be MPs. Parliament is still broadly unrepresentative of British society: there are still far more men than women, the number of black and Asian MPs is still shockingly low, and the class make-up of practically every legislative body throughout the United Kingdom skews heavily middle class, with the number of MPs educated at Oxford and Cambridge an embarrassment. Hounding an MP for daring to remain in the council home she has dwelt in for thirty years highlights how few MPs come from more ordinary backgrounds.

Crow and Osamor were right to defend their living situations and to call for more people to be given secure tenures that help people escape the exorbitant rents that private landlords extract from tenants. Individual actions will do little to solve the housing crisis; but defending social housing as a political good, and arguing that housing should be a human right that offers the best start in life, rather than yet another source of private profit, is essential. People attack this position because it upsets the status quo — because it forces the public discourse to acknowledge that our housing system is rigged, and tenants need both more rights and a second national house-building program.
UK  housing  socialHousing  OsamorKate  CrowBob  Thatcherism  rightToBuy  homeOwnership  tenancies  community  construction  policy  dctagged  dc:creator=FosterDawn 
december 2018 by petej
Made in Westminster – Sean Wallis | The Convention for Higher Education
This all changed with the removal in 2014 of caps on student numbers. Universities could now compete with each other for students, and market share. The first set of victims have been the post-92 universities, the ex-polytechnics, whose staff are not in the USS pension scheme. Students considering an expensive degree at London Metropolitan University, for example, now found places at King’s College. In London, LMU’s pain has been swiftly followed by that of Westminster University, currently engaged in serial cutbacks of staff.

In this first wave, the USS employers have boomed. Indeed, the Higher Education Statistics Agency reports that sector surpluses rose by a factor of 10 from £158m in 2005/6 to £1.5bn in 2016/17. However, to accommodate the new student numbers, universities needed estate capacity. They started a major programme of investment in new buildings, campuses and student accommodation. To do this they needed to borrow. Whereas some initial loans may have been on favourable terms, as construction costs have increased, institutions have had to borrow on the open market.

Of course, when you borrow in this way you have to declare your assets and your liabilities, including the liability toward the pension fund. It is this new obligation that I believe explains why, in the USS negotiations, UUK employers (led by the most expansionist Russell Group employers) focused on Defined Contribution, rather than, say, a worse Defined Benefit scheme.
education  higherEducation  universities  pensions  USS  valuation  deficit  risk  regulation  quantitativeEasing  banking  bailout  interestRates  gilts  expansion  investment  construction  UUK  RussellGroup 
march 2018 by petej
Ink It Onto Your Knuckles – Carillion Is How Neoliberalism Lives and Breathes | Novara Media
In the 19th century, the state stood back to let market forces rip and allow businesses to stand or fall. Under neoliberalism, the role of the state is to continuously create opportunities for profit in the private sector by extending market forces into areas where they did not previously exist. In this sense, Carillion was not the product of entrepreneurship but of government policy.
Carillion  construction  infrastructure  privatisation  PFI  neoliberalism  blacklisting  tradeUnions  business  dctagged  dc:creator=MasonPaul 
january 2018 by petej
Why Grenfell Tower Burned: Regulators Put Cost Before Safety - The New York Times
But in Britain, still no changes were made. “The construction industry appears to be stronger and more powerful than the safety lobby,” said Ronnie King, a former fire chief who advises the parliamentary fire safety group. “Their voice is louder.”
GrenfellTower  fire  safety  construction  cladding  high-rise  regulation  design  deregulation  business  OmnisExteriors  Arconic  UK 
june 2017 by petej
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