20 April 2012

Channel 4 Factcheck has it wrong on affordable home starts

This analysis in the Channel 4 Factcheck analysis of affordable home starts is incorrect because it omits a crucial GLA source and mis-reads the CLG table.

The figure of 2,240 affordable starts between April and September 2011, which is the same time period that Ken Livingstone's team reference, is clearly referenced in a Mayoral answer of 14th December 2011, which explains why the HCA figure is misleading and what the real figure is:

'The HCA published figures suggesting there were only 56 affordable starts in the first six months of this year. This data is misleading. The London Development Database reports that there were 2,240 affordable starts over the same six month period. The HCA are unable to record these homes on their system until they have signed new contracts with developers which they are in the process of doing.' (Source).

Neither this source or explanation was given in the Fact Check article - a crucial caveat with significant bearing on the result.

The 2,240 figure is not only based on GLA figures, it is also based on the same figures in the CLG table referenced in the article. However, Fact Check have mis-read the table.

You need to add together the numbers for 'housing association' and 'local authority' in Q2 and Q3 to obtain a figure that is comparable to the misleading HCA stats. We have taken starts under housing associations and local authorities to mean 'affordable' and this is entirely consistent with official CLG guidance, which clearly states that housing delivered by a housing association (previously referred to as a Registered Social Landlord, or RSL) or a local authority can be considered as 'affordable'; 'Normally, only households on local authority and RSL registers are eligible for social rented housing' (Delivering Affordable Housing, CLG, November 2006, p.10, link).

As this table from CLG shows, Q2 is measured as April to June and Q3 is measured as July to September, so we are comparing the same time period as Ken Livingstone.

According to both these tables, there were 1,110 starts by Housing Associations and 260 by local authorities in London in Q2. There were 860 starts by housing associations and 40 by local authorities in London in Q3. Taken together, this gives a total of 2,270 (the discrepancy is because the CLG live tables are constantly revised, whereas the Mayoral answer was drafted in December 2011.)

So it is completely incorrect to assert that there were only 56 affordable housing starts in London between April and September 2011. Both the GLA and CLG show this to be incorrect and that there were actually 2,240/2,270 affordable housing starts in London during this time period. The article should immediately be amended to reflect this evidence.

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