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Sharp drop in new affordable homes under coalition, council data shows

Sharp drop in new affordable homes under coalition, council data shows

The coalition will commission just 37,000 new affordable homes for poorer residents – a fifth of the number ministers had promised to build by the end of the parliament – with Tory-controlled local authorities giving the go-ahead for an average of just 93 affordable homes per council, according to a survey.

Freedom of information requests by the Labour party to 324 local councils showed Tory administrations were building 30% fewer affordable homes than Lib Dem councils and about only 40% of those in Labour authorities, which were planning an average of 211 affordable properties over the next three years. More than 200 councils responded to the request for information.

There are concerns that the number of affordable homes, be they in council hands or built by housing associations, has collapsed under the coalition. Last summer official statistics showed the number of “affordable housing starts” for 2011-12 fell by 68% on the previous year. Read more.

Randeep Ramesh| The Guardian | 10th February 2013

Sorry state of affairs: MPs, Lords or aides view love cheat site 52,000 times

Westminster love rats have been trawling the web for illicit sex using taxpayer-funded computers.

MPs, peers or aides hit on a site called Out of Town Affairs 52,375 times in seven months on parliamentary systems.

Its pages cater for married men and women who are “looking to do the dirty on their partners whilst out of town”.

The site received 289 hits a day from Westminster computers in December, making it more popular than the official Treasury, Ministry of Justice and Department for Education websites.

The site’s popularity at Westminster was revealed by a Freedom of Information request asking for the top 500 websites accessed on Parliament computers.

Read more.

James Lyons | The Mirror | 10th February 2013

£18,000 bar bill for President Obama

More than £18,000 of wine was drunk in a single night by 170 wealthy guests and top politicians at a glitzy white-tie state banquet at Buckingham Palace for the US president.

The bar bill will infuriate hard-pressed families who now have to pay even more for a drink under Government plans to impose a Minimum Unit Price on alcohol.

Freedom of Information requests reveal how the Government raided its wine cellars for Obama’s visit.

On arrival guests drank 22 bottles of a sparkling Ridgeview ­Fitzrovia Cuvée Merret Rosé 2004 and 32 bottles of Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2004 were also on offer, worth £32 per bottle. Read more.

Kirsty Buchanan | The Express | 10th February 2013

Somalia: Open Letter To Prime Minister About Freedom Of Information Reforms

Reporters Without Borders addressed an open letter today to Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon calling for the decriminalization of media offences and measures to protect journalists.

With 18 journalists killed in 2012, Somalia is Africa’s deadliest country for media personnel and is ranked 175th out of 179 countries in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, down 11 places from its position in the previous year’s index.

Here is the text of the letter:

Reporters Without Borders | 8th February 2013

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