William Eichler 02 May 2017

MPs call for plans to base supported housing allowance on private rates to be 'scrapped'

MPs call for plans to base supported housing allowance on private rates to be scrapped image

The Government should scrap plans to base rent allowances for supported housing tenants on rates used for claimants in the private rented sector, MPs say.

A joint report from the Work and Pensions and Communities and Local Government Committees said it is inappropriate to use the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate to calculate rent allowances for supported housing.

They argued that instead there should be a new Supported Housing Allowance, banded to reflect the actual cost of provision in the sector.

The LHA is a way of working out how much housing benefit you can get to help pay the rent if you have a private landlord. If you rent from a council or housing association or have a shared ownership home, different rules are currently used to calculate your housing benefit.

The committee said the Government was right to consider an alternative funding mechanism for emergency accommodation, given the inability of Universal Credit to reflect short-term changes in circumstance.

But they concluded the best course of action was to provide grants to local authorities, which can commission accommodation and pay providers.

Under the current proposals for supported housing, core rent and service charges for supported housing tenants would be funded up to the level of the applicable LHA rate. For costs above this, the Government would devolve ring-fenced top-up funding.

But the committee found that the cost of provision is largely consistent across the country, unlike the LHA rate. Consequently, some areas will rely more on top-up than others.

As this is considered a less secure funding source, the committees are also concerned that providers will be put off investing in particular areas, creating a disparity between the supply of homes and services across the country.

‘Supported housing is deeply valued by those who live in it and contributes enormously to their independence and wellbeing,’ said Richard Graham, co-chair of the inquiry and member of the Work and Pensions Committee.

‘We support the Government’s aims to reform funding for this vital sector to ensure quality and value for money, protect and boost supply, and provide greater local control.

‘But we are concerned that the proposals, as they stand, are unlikely to achieve these objectives.

Time for a council tax precept to fund CCTV image

Time for a council tax precept to fund CCTV

The crisis in funding for CCTV systems is not being addressed by the government or the police and is leading to the curtailment of this vital service in local authorities across the country. How can we ensure that communities that want this service continue to receive it, asks Tom Reeve.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Service Director – Development & Regulation

West Berkshire Council
Up to £96,585 per annum
We are looking for a candidate with the passion for place making and a successful track record in leading and developing large multi-service teams.  Newbury, Berkshire
Recuriter: West Berkshire Council

Mayoralty & Business Manager

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£41,292 - £50,034
The Mayoralty & Business Manager will be responsible for maintaining the reputation of both Mayoralties and promoting a positive image of... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Joint Assistant Director - Communities and Wellbeing

Babergh & Mid Suffolk
Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are at the forefront of joint working and are a progressive award-winning partnership Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Babergh & Mid Suffolk

Procurement Networking Event

Essex County Council
Procurement Networking EventClosing Date
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Community Support Worker - Mental Health & Wellbeing

Essex County Council
£21057 - £27391 per annum
Community Support Worker - Mental Health & WellbeingFixed Term, Full Time£21,057 - £27,391 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue