Blog 12th June 2017

Jun 12th 2017, 09:50

Blog 12th June 2017

The Conservatives have emerged from last week’s General Election as the largest party, but without an overall majority. At the time of writing it is expected that they will form a minority government with support from the Democratic Unionist Party. Obviously, there is speculation about what policy changes the Democratic Unionist Party will request as part of any arrangement. It appears that their main requests will be around additional funding for Northern Ireland, a ‘softer Brexit’ and an easing of austerity. It is unlikely that any changes to Housing or Local Government policy in England will result as different systems already operate in the four countries of the United Kingdom. However, Welfare is still largely administered at the United Kingdom level and the Democratic Unionist Party would like to see some changes in approach including:

  • The abandonment of the policy of capping housing benefit at the level of the Local Housing Allowance in Supported Housing
  • The abandonment of the ‘Under-Occupation Penalty’ (Bedroom Tax)
  • Changes in the implementation of Universal Credit

I certainly hope that the new government will give urgent attention to the future funding of Supported Housing. The capping of Housing Benefit at the level of the Local Housing Allowance combined with slow progress on developing an alternative way of funding Supported Housing has caused uncertainty in the sector. This has led to an end to new developments and the closure of some schemes. The former government’s proposals, contained in a consultation paper in November 2016, were not fully thought through and have been criticised by the Parliamentary Select Committees for Communities & Local Government and Work & Pensions. If confidence is to be restored, housing is to be provided for vulnerable people and unmanageable pressure on health and social care services is to be avoided, the new government will have to act quickly.

I am currently finalising my preparations for our seminar ‘Developments in Local Authority Housing Finance in England 2017’ will be held on Wednesday in London and on 5th July 2017 in Leeds. It will be fully up to date and will consider:

  • The Political, Economic, Social and Technological Context
  • Government Housing Policy
  • General Election 2017 - The Housing Policies of the successful parties!
  • Funding of Supported Housing
  • Affordable Housing Programme
  • Brexit implications for Council Housing
  • Flexible Homelessness Support Grant

This seminar is proving popular but we still have a few places available. For further information or to make a booking, please click HERE

My briefing paper on the housing policies of the Conservative Party (and the other main parties) can be freely downloaded from HERE

My briefing papers on funding Supported Housing can be freely downloaded from HERE

As our seminars on ‘All You Want to Know about Service Charges in Social Housing’ are proving popular – the one in Leeds last month was a sell out! – we have launched another session in London on 10th October 2017. This seminar will consider the following questions:

  • How do Service Charges work in Housing Associations and Local Authorities and for Leaseholders and Tenants?
  • How are service charges calculated?
  • How to de-pool service charges?
  • When are service charges eligible for housing benefit / universal credit?
  • Service Charges in Supported Housing
  • Service Charge issues and how to ensure excellent customer service?

For further information or to make a booking, please click HERE

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