Independence...Integrity...Value

October 2016

Nov 7th 2016, 15:54

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31st October 2016

I am in London this evening prior to presenting our seminar on ‘All You Want to Know about Local Authority Housing Finance’ tomorrow. As usual this seminar has proved popular. I am grateful to all the delegates who are attending and am looking forward to meeting them tomorrow morning.

This seminar is also available as an in-house session.

  • For more information on the seminar please click HERE
  • For more information about in-house sessions please contact me at Adrian.waite@awics.co.uk or 017683-51498

Last week saw some interesting economic news:

  • Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, attended a meeting of the House of Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee and appeared to suggest that the Bank would intervene in the markets to stop sterling falling below $1.22. However, he did not say whether this would be done by borrowing to buy sterling or by raising interest rates or both. Since then sterling has fallen further due to uncertainty about Mark Carney’s future at the Bank.
  • The FTSE share index that has recently increased because of the declining value of sterling and record low interest rates fell back to below 7,000 points.
  • The fall in the value of sterling began to cause prices to rise with a 12% increase in the price of Marmite and an estimated £900million additional cost to the National Health Service of imported supplies.
  • The Resolution Foundation has calculated that the United Kingdom government has an £84billion ‘black hole’ in its finances because of reduced tax receipts.
  • Consumer credit increased by £1.4billion during September including £0.5billion borrowed on credit cards.
  • It was announced that Nissan would continue to invest in Sunderland as they have received unspecified assurances from the government.

The situation with the motor industry is interesting. As the former Conservative cabinet minister Nicky Morgan told the ‘London Evening Standard’:

“Big companies like Nissan don’t make commitments to build new models and to carry on employing thousands of people without there being something pretty concrete in writing.”

Nissan is not the only foreign-owned car manufacturer that makes cars in Britain to sell across Europe. For example, the United States owned company General Motors manufactures the Vauxhall Astra at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire; and are due to take decisions about future investment soon. The company has warned that thousands of jobs are at risk. Chuck Stevens, their Chief Financial Officer, told the ‘New European’ that the economic situation in Britain was:

“A speed bump on our path to where we want to take the business.”

Of course, one of the complaints that has been made about the European Union is that the rules of the single market prevent governments from providing state aid to businesses other than in specific limited circumstances. When Britain leaves the European Union, it will presumably be open to the United Kingdom government to subsidise businesses that it wishes to retain in Britain through the ‘Industrial Strategy’ that the government is now developing.

This possibility reminds me of the situation that developed around the motor industry in the 1970s. In 1974, Labour was elected to government with a proposal to establish a ‘National Enterprise Board’. The idea was that the board would have a budget to support businesses with a social purpose or with significant growth potential. However, when British Leyland (the largest British motor manufacturer at the time) ran into financial difficulties a decision was taken to use the budget to give them financial support. This policy was very costly for the taxpayer and ultimately British Leyland went out of business anyway!

None of this improves the outlook for the funding of public services including health, housing and local government. This matter was recently discussed at Cumbria County Council with a local newspaper, the ‘Cumberland & Westmorland Herald’ quoting Councillor Neil Hughes (Liberal-Democrat) as saying that:

“Cuts to local authorities have meant that very few services can be adequately supported”

And Councillor Stewart Young (Labour), the Leader of the Council as saying that:

“The prospects for local government seem to be pretty slim.”

Next week, we will be holding a seminar on: ‘Service Charges in Social Housing’ in Leeds on 8th November 2016. For more information or to make a booking please click HERE

26th October 2016

The full implications of the vote for Britain to leave the European Union will not be known until after the negotiations between Britain and the European Union are completed (if then) but some implications are already apparent.

This week we have published a briefing paper on the implications of Brexit for housing. It includes sections on:

  • Macro-Economic Implications
  • United Kingdom Government abandons Budget Surplus Target
  • Impact on the Housing Market
  • Impact on Housing Associations
  • Housing Association Credit Ratings
  • Housing Association Borrowing
  • London Housing
  • Housing Associations and Development
  • Local Authority Development
  • Building and Development Costs
  • Housing Associations and Pensions
  • Free Movement of Labour
  • Migration and Housing Need

While the exact implications of Brexit are far from clear, we have entered a period of considerable uncertainty, volatility and risk. There is therefore a need for housing associations and local authority housing services to ensure that they have robust business plans backed with robust monitoring and risk management processes.

YOUR copy of the briefing paper can be freely downloaded from HERE

There is also a pressing need for local authorities and housing associations to ensure that their service charges raise sufficient to cover their service costs and that the calculations that support service charges are sufficiently robust to provide an audit trail and to resist challenge. I am therefor finding myself doing a lot of work advising and assisting local authorities and housing associations with service charges.

One problem relates to the government’s proposal to cap housing benefit at the level of the local housing allowance. My analysis suggests that this problem is most serious in low value areas where the local housing allowance is at its lowest. This is because the variation in social rents and service charges between high and low value areas is not as great as the variation in private sector rents and therefore in the local housing allowance.

For more information on advice and assistance that I can provide on service charges please click HERE

Meanwhile, the government has announced that it will support the Homelessness Reduction Bill. This Bill has been introduced to Parliament by Bob Blackman MP (Conservative). It requires local authorities to provide new homelessness services to all those affected, not just those who are protected under existing legislation.

It places a duty on local authorities to help eligible people at risk of homelessness to secure accommodation, 56 days before they are threatened with homelessness, and to provide those who find themselves homeless with support for a further period of 56 days to help to secure accommodation. The bill will also ensure that other local services refer those either homeless or at risk of being homeless to local authority housing teams.

Local authorities had expressed reservations about the Bill because of fears that it would increase local government’s responsibilities without providing the necessary resources. However, the Local Government Association has now said that it also supports the Bill.

Our next seminar is on: ‘All You Want to Know about Local Authority Housing Finance’ and will be held in London on 1st November 2016. For more information or to make a booking please click HERE

It will be followed by a seminar on: ‘Service Charges in Social Housing’ that will be held in Leeds on 8th November 2016. For more information or to make a booking please click HERE

18th October 2016

The fact that 43% of all homes in Britain do not meet Shelter’s new ‘Living Homes Standard’ will unfortunately not come as too much of a surprise to many people who are involved in housing.

The Living Home Standard has been created by the public, for the public, to define what an acceptable home should provide. It looks at what we should all be able to expect from our home to secure our wellbeing and provide a foundation from which we can build and live our lives.

The Standard is the product of nine months of research undertaken by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Shelter and British Gas, and involved discussion groups, workshops and quantitative surveys as well as an online community. The result is a list of 39 attributes that define the Living Home Standard, split between essentials that all homes must meet and tradeables that take account of differing needs and priorities between households. It is a standard that applies to all homes, irrespective of their tenure, size or age.

The main reasons why homes fail the standard are: affordability 27%, decent conditions 18%, space 11%, stability 10% and neighbourhood 5%.

An affordable home is defined as one where the resident can meet the rent or mortgage payments on the home without regularly having to cut spending on household essentials like food or heating; and where they are not worried that rent or mortgage payments could rise to a level that would be difficult to pay.

A home with decent conditions is defined as one that can be heated safely and effectively; has hot and cold running water; is free from safety hazards such as faulty wiring or fire risks; is structurally sound with no important defects to the roof and / or walls; has a toilet, and a bath and / or shower; feels physically secure (for example with adequate locks on doors and windows); is free from pest problems; is free from mould or damp problems; is suitable for the current age and/or disability related needs of everyone in the household; and where there are electrical sockets in the main living areas, kitchen and bedroom(s).

While most social landlords have met (and many have exceeded) the English Decent Homes Standard, Scottish Housing Quality Standard or Welsh Housing Quality Standard it is generally accepted that these standards are not especially ambitious. Also, they don’t apply to the private rented sector or the owner-occupied sector where Shelter has found that the standard of housing is often poor.

Perhaps it would be appropriate to make the Living Home Standard the new standard for social housing. However, consideration would have to be given to how it could be funded in view of the financial constraints within which local authorities and housing associations now operate. It would also be necessary to consider the extent to which resources that are available (that are currently very limited) should be allocated to improving existing stock or building new stock.

It may also be appropriate to extend the concept to the private rented sector. Surely, private tenants should have as much right to good quality homes as social tenants. Also, as the private rented sector is substantially funded by the public through the local housing allowance it appears to me that it would be reasonable for the government to insist as a condition of this that private landlords provide homes to a specified standard.

A copy of Shelter’s report on the Living Home Standard can be downloaded from their website at: http://www.shelter.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/1287848/living_home_standard_full_report.pdf

Our next seminar is on: ‘All You Want to Know about Local Authority Housing Finance’ and will be held in London on 1st November 2016. For more information or to make a booking please click HERE

It will be followed by a seminar on: ‘Service Charges in Social Housing’ that will be held in Leeds on 8th November 2016. For more information or to make a booking please click HERE

13th October 2016

Michael Gove famously said that the public no longer wanted to hear from experts and since then we have seen a shift in the approach of the government and the opposition away from policy based on evidence and analysis to politics based on ‘conviction’.

This new approach was recently described by my member of Parliament who is Rory Stewart, the Minister of State at the Department for International Development. He writes a regular column in our local newspaper the ‘Cumberland & Westmorland Herald’ called the ‘Word from Westminster’. I usually find this column interesting but I found his edition of 1st October an especially fascinating insight.

In the column Rory Stewart discusses the respective roles of political leaders and experts. He complains that experts rely on ‘what can be quantified’ and on ‘scholarly papers’ and that they propose solutions such as ‘real medical benefits, real environmental benefits, real jobs and economic growth’. He appears to see something wrong with this.

However, he considers that the role of political leaders is to ‘challenge the experts’ views’ based on ‘other types of values which matter to a community’ and to ‘articulate them clearly’. He then gives examples of these values including ‘historical attachment’, ‘nostalgia’, ‘landscape’, ‘traditions’, ‘nationhood’, ‘our past’, ‘our soil’ and ‘shards of national myths’.

He then notes that these values are ‘fiercely disputed by people with different tastes, beliefs and from different generations’.

I am among many people who are disturbed by this approach to policy making. I am all in favour of politicians having policy objectives but I also think they should base policy on evidence and expert advice. People like me are dismayed by the current position and attempt to counter the conviction approach by presenting well-argued opinions based on facts.

However, who is listening to well-developed arguments based on facts about subjects like the European single market, migration, welfare claimants, local government funding, homelessness or poverty? Simpler messages based on prejudice seem to attract more attention.

The ‘British Archaeology’ magazine has recently complained that:

“Politicians brazenly pursue what they think will appeal to their constituency regardless of reality and get away with it.”

However, ‘British Archaeology’ also offers a solution:

“We need to do more than trust only in veracity. The problem now is a surplus of data rather than scarcity, and a tendency for information to become ever more technical and opaque to all but specialists… Yes, we must know our stuff, do the research and tell the stories. But we must do more. We need to enthuse and inspire with passion, to appeal to emotion as well as logic. We need a dream.”

And I think this is good advice in any walk of life. It is as valid in local government and housing as it is in archaeology.

Perhaps this is a challenge for me and for AWICS: To continue our ‘mission to inform’ but to expand it to ‘enthuse’ and ‘inspire’ and to help people to find and communicate a dream!

Our next seminar is on: ‘All You Want to Know about Local Authority Housing Finance’ and will be held in London on 1st November 2016. For more information or to make a booking please click HERE

It will be followed by a seminar on: ‘Service Charges in Social Housing’ that will be held in Leeds on 8th November 2016. For more information or to make a booking please click HERE

5th October 2016

I was in London yesterday to present the 2016 session of ‘Developments in Local Authority Housing Finance’. I am grateful to all those delegates who attended. Delegates said that the information provided was very relevant, the quality of the presentation was excellent and that the training met their needs fully. They described the seminar as: Useful, Thorough, Comprehensive, Interesting and Thought-provoking. Specific feedback received included:

  • As always, a very useful day with the opportunity to focus the mind on some challenging areas.
  • I needed a thorough refresher and documents to look back on and refer to – so Yes, Very Good. Enjoy the blogs and free downloads too.
  • Good and Informative. Another Good Seminar. Thanks Adrian.

The book that accompanies ‘Developments in Local Authority Housing Finance’ can be bought separately. It contains sections on: The Political, Economic, Social and Technical Context; The New Government ; Social and Affordable Rents; Near Market Rents for Tenants with High Incomes; The Impact of Welfare Reform; Sale of High Value Council Homes; Funding of Supported Housing; Business Plans and Accounts; Risk Management, Asset Management and Right to Buy. For more information or to order a copy click HERE

Last week Damian Green, the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions made an announcement on the Funding of Supported Housing. This confirmed that, in future, Housing Benefit and Universal Credit will only meet core housing costs with the additional costs of supported housing being met by a new stream of cash-limited funding that will be devolved to local authorities in England and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales. The government has also undertaken to publish a consultation paper soon. I have written a briefing paper that summarises the announcement, its implications and the reaction to it from people in the sector. Your copy can be freely downloaded from HERE

Since I wrote my briefing paper Lord Porter (Conservative), the Leader of the Local Government Association has been reported as saying that £2billion of funding would be made available. I am not sure that this would be sufficient.

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, made an interesting speech at the Conservative Party conference on Monday. In it he said that:

“We must expect some turbulence… There will be a period of a couple of years or perhaps even longer when businesses are uncertain… We have to expect a period when confidence will go up and down – perhaps a bit of a roller-coaster… During that period, we need to support the economy to make sure that consumer confidence remains, to make sure that business confidence is stable, so we get the investment that keeps the jobs that keep Britain going.”

So with the economy depressed with low levels of investment and exports the government will do all that it can to maintain demand, not only by cutting interest rates to encourage private borrowing and discourage saving, but by increasing public expenditure and paying for it through increased public borrowing.

Some ministers have made comments that have encouraged people in local government, housing and other public services to hope for increased funding. However, I would advise caution. The only announcement that government has made so far is £3billion to fund housing but of this £2billion is already committed and the ‘new’ £1billion is to provide subsidised loans to private builders. If we see any significant increases in budgets for social care or social housing I would be surprised.

Our next seminar is on: ‘All You Want to Know about Local Authority Housing Finance’ and will be held in London on 1st November 2016. For more information or to make a booking please click HERE

It will be followed by a seminar on: ‘Service Charges in Social Housing’ that will be held in Leeds on 8th November 2016. For more information or to make a booking please click HERE

26th September 2016

Following last week’s announcement by the Department for Work & Pensions about the funding of supported housing (see last week’s Blog below) I have written a briefing paper on the subject. It covers: The announcement of 15th September 2016; Analysis; The response of the sector; Implications for Scotland; Implications for Wales and The consultation. Your copy can be freely downloaded from HERE

A Director of Housing at a Housing Association in London who read the briefing paper on Friday has given me the following feedback for which I am grateful:

"That was a very useful briefing you did Friday, a good summary of where we are now and the remaining substantive concerns, thanks."

The funding of supported housing is one of the subjects that will be considered at our next seminar that is on ‘Developments in Local Authority Housing Finance’ and will be held in London on 4th October 2016. It looks in depth at current developments in local authority housing finance in England – especially the implications of the policies of the new government, the implementation of the Housing & Planning Act 2016, the vote for Britain to leave the European Union, the public finances, welfare reform (including capping housing benefit at local housing allowance levels and the impact on supported housing), rent reductions, sale of high value properties to fund the extension of ‘right to buy’ to housing associations, ‘pay to stay’ and new development. For more information or to make a booking please click HERE

Last week I went to Yorkshire to present an in-house session of ‘All You Want to Know about Housing Association Finance’. The attendees said that the information provided was very relevant, the quality of presentation was good and that the training met their needs fully. They described the session as: Interesting, Thorough, Useful, Practical and Comprehensive. Particular comments included:

  • Adrian is very experienced and knowledgeable in this topic
  • Useful real world examples
  • The booklet will be a good source of reference to cement what has been learned today

If you would like to make an enquiry about an in-house session please contact me at Adrian.waite@awics.co.uk or 017683-51498

The book that accompanies ‘All You Want to Know about Housing Association Finance’ can be bought separately. It contains sections on: The financial environment in which housing associations work; Regulatory requirements including Viability and Value for Money; Income & Expenditure Accounts, Balance Sheets and Cash Flows; How Development and other Capital Expenditure is financed; Budgeting, Budgetary Control and Risk Management; Asset Management and Treasury Management; Developments in government policy including ‘right to buy’, rent reductions, pay to stay and welfare reform; The implications of the Housing & Planning Bill – including low cost home-ownership; and The future funding of sheltered housing and community investment. For more information or to order a copy click HERE

We have also published the September edition of the ‘AWICS Wales News’. This edition includes articles on

  • Wales and Brexit
  • Welsh Government faces three-year funding reductions
  • Calls for Welsh Government to invest in Housing
  • Tax Devolution Budget Shortfall for Wales
  • Housing Benefit powers could tackle poverty in Wales
  • Six figure boost for more co-operative homes in Wales
  • Welsh integration of health and social care
  • Welsh Government consults on Social Housing Rent Standard and Guidance
  • AWICS holds seminar on Service Charges

Your copy can be freely downloaded from HERE

In previous blogs I have commented on the future of the Edenside Residential Care Home in Appleby. Last week Cumbria County Council took a decision to close it with Councillor Stewart Young (Labour), the Leader of the Council saying that:

“I recognise a lot of the members of the public have come here today and that it’s not the decision they were hoping for, but we have to make difficult decisions. I can assure you that Cumbria County Council does take its duties seriously and hope that the Town Council and others will work with us to look at other options.”

Cumbria County Council has also undertaken to develop a:

“Robust plan to address and support the future needs of older residents in Appleby and the Appleby area.”

The Adult Social Care service across Britain is facing increased needs at a time of constrained resources and Cumbria County Council is not the only authority that faces difficult decisions. As mentioned here, robust plans are needed for the future.

19th September 2016

As I have discussed in my blog previously, the United Kingdom government has created uncertainty over the future funding of supported housing by announcing that from 2018 housing benefits will be capped at the level of the local housing allowance and that housing support services will not be funded by Universal Credit but through another mechanism. At the same time a review of the finances of supported housing was started.

Last week the government announced its proposals for the future funding of supported housing. The key elements are as follows:

  • All housing costs for supported housing will be met. Housing costs will be paid through the benefits system up to the local housing allowance level with a top-up paid by the local authority.
  • To enable this top-up to happen, there will be a transfer of funds from the Department of Work and Pensions to the Department for Communities and Local Government. They will then allocate funds to local authorities by a mechanism yet to be decided on.
  • There will be a ring-fence around the transferred sum and it will be strictly only available to pay for supported housing costs.
  • There will be no Shared Accommodation Rate in the calculation of the local housing allowance rate for tenants in the new system. The one-bedroom local housing allowance rate will be used for people under 35 living in supported housing.
  • The Government believes a different system needs to be worked out for short-term transitional services and it will consult on this.
  • Budgets will also be transferred to the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments to enable them to devise their own arrangements

The new system is planned to be implemented from 2019 and the Local Housing Allowance cap will not apply to supported and sheltered housing until then. From 2019 it is proposed to apply the local housing allowance cap to all claims in supported and sheltered housing with some exceptions including domestic violence refuges. The 1% annual rent reduction required by the Welfare Reform & Work Act 2016 will apply to sheltered housing from 2017 to 2019 with some exceptions such as domestic violence refuges.

This approach is not unexpected but leaves the following questions unanswered:

  • Will the total funds allocated to local authorities and the devolved administrations be sufficient, especially bearing in mind that need is increasing?
  • If funds are not adequate will authorities be able to top-up the budget from their own resources?
  • How will the funds be allocated between authorities?
  • How long will the ring-fence last?
  • Will there be sufficient funding for local authorities and housing associations to be able to provide the supported housing that is required including extra care elderly housing?

Experience with Discretionary Housing Payments and Supporting People may lead cynics to suggest that funding will decline over time despite needs increasing and that eventually the ring-fence will be removed leading to significant reductions in funding.

Our next seminar is on ‘Developments in Local Authority Housing Finance’ and will be held in London on 4th October 2016. It looks in depth at current developments in local authority housing finance in England – especially the implications of the policies of the new government, the implementation of the Housing & Planning Act 2016, the vote for Britain to leave the European Union, the public finances, welfare reform (including capping housing benefit at local housing allowance levels and the impact on supported housing), rent reductions, sale of high value properties to fund the extension of ‘right to buy’ to housing associations, ‘pay to stay’ and new development. For more information or to make a booking please click HERE

Our next webinar will be an ‘Introduction to the Housing Revenue Account’ and will be held on 29th September 2016. For more information or to book a place please click HERE

12th September 2016

Our seminar ‘All You Want to Know about Service Charges in Social Housing’ was held in Cardiff last Tuesday. I am very grateful to all the delegates who attended who came from both housing associations and local authorities. They said that the information provided was very relevant, the quality of the presentation was good and that the training met their needs fully. They described the seminar as interesting, valuable, enjoyable and useful. Specific comments included:

  • Many thanks for yesterday: a really insightful and thorough run through the service charges landscape which was very useful in framing my understanding of how the regulatory and legal framework governs it, and the public sector perspective was really helpful as well.
  • Invaluable opportunity to network with colleagues in other local authorities experiencing similar challenges
  • Very useful, good networking as well
  • Good, knowledgeable speaker

Our next session will be held in Leeds on 8th November 2016. For further information about this session please click HERE

I am also available to provide in-house training, advice and assistance with service charges. For more information about this please click HERE

A fortnight ago I wrote in my blog about Cumbria County Council, their strategy for providing housing and support to vulnerable and elderly people especially through extra care elderly housing and their consultation on the closure of Edenside Residential Care Home in Appleby (see below). Last week Eden District Council decided to designate the building as an ‘Asset of Community Value’. An ‘Asset of Community Value’ is land or property of importance to a local community that is subject to additional protection from development under the Localism Act 2011. The Council’s intention is to protect its use as a residential care home.

The government’s proposals to re-introduce selective grammar schools and increase the number of faith schools are proving controversial. They are being put forward as ways of improving standards of education. However, I have my reservations. Grammar schools have never selected their pupils solely on the grounds of academic ability but have also selected on the basis of who are ‘the right sort of people’. Do we really want selective schools where students are unlikely to come into contact with students from other social classes or different ethnicities or faiths? My preference would be to have schools that welcome students from all sections of the community and offer them all an excellent education including an understanding of the society in which they live. Most schools already do this and I don’t think the government’s proposals will help the schools that do not.

Our next seminar is on ‘Developments in Local Authority Housing Finance’ and will be held in London on 4th October 2016. It looks in depth at current developments in local authority housing finance in England – especially the implications of the policies of the new government, the implementation of the Housing & Planning Act 2016, the vote for Britain to leave the European Union, the public finances, welfare reform (including capping housing benefit at local housing allowance levels), rent reductions, sale of high value properties to fund the extension of ‘right to buy’ to housing associations, ‘pay to stay’ and new development. For more information or to make a booking please click HERE

Our next webinar will be on ‘Scottish Local Authority Housing Finance’ and will be held on 22nd September 2016. For more information or to book a place please click HERE

5th September 2016

I am writing this blog on the train while on my way to Cardiff prior to presenting our seminar ‘All You Want to Know about Service Charges in Social Housing’ tomorrow. This has proved a popular session and I am looking forward to meeting the delegates. For further information about the session please click HERE

I am also available to provide in-house training, advice and assistance with service charges. For more information about this please click HERE

Last week I wrote in my blog about Cumbria County Council, their strategy for providing housing and support to vulnerable and elderly people especially through extra care elderly housing and their consultation on the closure of Edenside Residential Care Home in Appleby (see below).

This week it has been reported that potential residents of a new extra care housing scheme, Bramble Court in Brampton (near Carlisle in Cumbria) will be given a first opportunity to look round it prior to its opening in October. The scheme offers 38 one- and two-bedroom apartments for rent to older people in need of adapted accommodation and includes a communal lounge, guest suite and hair salon. It is being provided by Impact Housing Association at a cost of £5.1million to which Cumbria County Council has given a £0.8million contribution. Rents will be £88 / week for a one-bedroom apartment and £104 / week for a two-bedroom apartment. There will also be a weekly service charge of £75 / dwelling to cover heating, water and electricity.

Hopefully, Cumbria County Council will be able to sponsor more similar schemes; but there are financial difficulties at present as I outlined last week. Principal amongst these is the government’s proposal to cap housing benefit at the level of the local housing allowance that would make residents of extra care elderly housing unable to claim housing benefit to cover all their rent and service charges. In Brampton, for example, the local housing allowance is currently £81 for a one-bedroom dwelling and £94 for a two-bedroom dwelling. This would leave a tenant claiming benefits at the Impact scheme in Brampton £82 / week short in a one-bedroom apartment and £85 / week short in a two-bedroom apartment.

At the moment I am assisting a small housing association in London that specialises in housing young people with support needs with business planning. If housing benefits are capped at the level of the local housing allowance that would reduce their income by 36% and would render their current business plan unviable.

The Homes & Communities Agency has recently carried out research that has demonstrated that investment in supported housing saves the taxpayer £640million annually.

The government is expected to publish its report on the future funding of supported housing soon. It is to be hoped that it will recognise both the importance of supported housing for vulnerable people and its cost-effectiveness and propose a solution that will provide sufficient funding.

Our next seminar is on ‘Developments in Local Authority Housing Finance’ and looks in depth at current developments in local authority housing finance in England – especially the implications of the policies of the new government, the implementation of the Housing & Planning Act 2016, the vote for Britain to leave the European Union, the public finances, welfare reform (including capping housing benefit at local housing allowance levels), rent reductions, sale of high value properties to fund the extension of ‘right to buy’ to housing associations, ‘pay to stay’ and new development. There will be sessions in London on 4th October 2016 and Leeds on 11th October 2016. For more information or to make a booking please click HERE

Our next webinar will be on ‘Business Planning in the Housing Revenue Account’ and will be held on 12th September 2016. For more information or to make a booking please click HERE

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