David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation suggests that the decision in George Osbourne’s Spending Review that Housing Benefit for social housing should be capped at the same level as private sector could reduce supported tenancy housing benefit payments by up to £100 per week.
As there is no Local Housing Allowance for supported housing in the private rented sector, this seemingly minor, technical amendment could lead to virtually all supported housing for people under 35 to disappear, as many housing associations, councils and voluntary organisations rely on Local Housing Allowance to make up the additional costs.
Orr is lobbying to have this changed and says “We are told that it is not the intention of the Government to cause this problem for housing association running supported housing. If that is indeed the case it can resolve the problem immediately and easily. All it needs to do is agree that ‘specified housing’ is exempt from the rent cut and exempt from the local housing allowance limit. This decision must be made and it must be made quickly. If it does not happen, the consequences for tens of thousands of our most vulnerable fellow citizens are too awful to contemplate.”
The Department for Work and Pensions said it was committed to supporting vulnerable people and details of how the policy will be implemented are still being worked on.