William Eichler 26 October 2017

Councils welcome PM’s U-turn on local housing allowance freeze

Councils welcome PM’s U-turn on local housing allowance freeze  image

Council chiefs have welcomed the Government’s decision that the local housing allowance (LHA) freeze will not apply to supported or social housing.

Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Theresa May said that the change in policy would be part of Whitehall’s response to a consultation on the future funding model for supported housing, which will be published next Tuesday.

‘I can also say today that as part of our response to the review we will not apply the local housing allowance cap to supported housing,’ she said.

‘Indeed, we will not be implementing it in the wider social rented sector, and the full details will be made available when we publish our response to the consultation.’

Responding to the announcement, Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), said: ‘It is great that the Government has listened to our call for the local housing allowance rate not to apply to social housing, including supported housing.

‘This will provide some crucial certainty for councils and their partners to provide housing for some of the most vulnerable people in our society, and to invest in improving and building more affordable homes.’

The Government had planned to base rent allowances for supported housing tenants on rates used for claimants in the private rented sector. The LHA is used to calculate the latter.

However, these plans have been widely criticised.

Last May, the Work and Pensions (WP) and Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committees published a report which called for the proposals to be ‘scrapped’.

They warned the reforms would discourage providers from investing in certain areas due to uncertainty about the levels of funding that would be available, with the result being ‘a disparity between the supply of homes and services across the country.’

A survey of 69 housing associations last August by the National Housing Federation (NHF) revealed the proposed changes had caused an 85% drop in new homes for the most vulnerable. They fell from 8,800 to 1,350 units.

Speaking yesterday about the PM’s announcement, Clive Betts, chair of the CLG Committee, said: ‘The Government’s proposals had caused considerable concern and I welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement today that the Government will not apply the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate to Supported Housing.

‘Our joint report told the Government that the LHA rate was “an inappropriate starting point for a new funding mechanism” and a serious threat to the future viability of the sector.

‘We look forward to seeing the full details of the Government’s new funding proposals when they are published next Tuesday.’

Terrie Alafat of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) also welcomed the news saying the scrapped proposals had ‘put homes for some of the most vulnerable people in our society at risk.’

She also warned that applying the cap to the wider social housing sector ‘risked putting social housing out of reach for younger people in particular in many areas.’

Our school places challenge image

Our school places challenge

A new report has warned the UK needs more than 600 new schools by 2022 to meet demand. Mark Robinson explores how local authorities can address the school place shortfall.
The biodiversity challenge image

The biodiversity challenge

Alex Robinson explains lessons for councils and their partners from Oxford City Council and Grosvenor’s approach at their Barton Park development.
Highways jobs

Casual Leisure Assistants (Lifeguards) - Teddington

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£10.55 per hour
You’ll join our lifeguarding team, providing a professional and friendly approach to pool safety. London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

CATE Practitioner

Telford & Wrekin Council
£26,999 - £28,785 per annum
If you have excellent engagement, communication and assessment skills and a commitment to tackling child exploitation this maybe the role for you.  Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Commissioning Service Support Office

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£24.462 - £25.809
Would you like to contribute to delivering good outcomes for children and young people?​  Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Contract Lawyer

Brent Council
£42,684- £48,492 p.a. inc.
This is an exciting new role that has been established in our busy and growing contracts team primarily to support two key council projects. Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Participation Worker

Brent Council
£31,548 - £33,291 p.a. inc.
Looking for someone who has a proven ability to reach out, engage and support young people to influence the world around them in creative and... Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

The June issue of Local Government News contains the full details of all the winning schemes in the 2019 Street Design Awards. From Children's Play to Pedestrian Environment, find out who has been recognised for their innovation and use of best practice.

This issue also explores how local government pension funds can hedge currency risk, how councils can best address the shortfall in school places, and an update on the number of authorities banning the use of Roundup over safety fears.

Register for your free magazine