“The reform options could also have major implications for both tenants and landlords. We could for example see housing benefits merged in to streamlined universal or in-work benefits. This would most likely mean the end of direct payments to landlords. With housing benefit accounting for a significant proportion of revenue in the social housing sector, and underpinning business plans and supporting new supply, it is critical that the impact of this fundamental change is fully considered.”
He continued: “We also know that housing costs vary significantly from place to place and it will be important to maintain a local housing costs element.
“While ideas presented in this Green Paper are welcomed by CIH, we remain disappointed that that cuts to housing benefits in the emergency budget are so out of keeping with the ambitions of this wider reform programme. The starting point in any changes should be improving the ability of individuals to meet their housing needs and build a platform for the future – after all a stable home is a prerequisite for a stable job.”
Shelter has also welcomed the Government’s proposals to simplify the benefits system, but has expressed concern about any further reductions to housing support.
Responding to the ’21st Century Welfare’ consultation, which proposes the idea of a single integrated ‘Universal Credit’, Shelter director of policy and campaigns Kay Boycott (pictured), said:
‘Shelter has been campaigning for reform of our benefits system for years, and welcomes any proposals that aim to simplify the system and tackle disincentives to work.
‘For many of our clients, housing benefit in particular creates real barriers which mean they are financially no better off, and in some cases worse off, by returning to work.
‘However, the proposals are unclear about the level of housing support that will be available, and it’s vital that any new system allows people to access decent and affordable housing.
‘With brutal cuts to housing benefit already announced from next year, any further reductions to the support people receive will mean even bigger shortfalls in rent for households already struggling to keep a roof over their head.’
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