Recent News

Welfare reforms fail to reduce cost of renting

Private rents in England are rising by almost £300 a year despite government assurances that welfare reforms would drive down the cost of renting, a study has found.

Analysis of Valuation Office Agency data by housing charity Shelter has shown rents rose an average of 2.8 per cent from 2011 to 2012, with some areas seeing increases of more than 14 per cent. The 2.8 per cent rise is equivalent to £297 on average, in a year when average wages did not rise. 

Millions to struggle with rents under welfare reforms

A million people living in social housing could struggle with their rent and end up in debt as a result of the Government’s welfare shakeup, the National Housing Federation (NHF) has warned.

A NHF-commissioned report by Ipsos MORI and the University of Cambridge found that most housing associations fear a significant rise in rent arrears and believe their residents have little or no idea how the welfare changes - which are being rolled-out later this year – will affect them. 

Rent arrears to rise 51% under welfare reforms

Housing associations expect their rent arrears to increase by more than half as a result of the government’s welfare reforms.

A survey of 232 housing associations conducted by Ipsos Mori for the National Housing Federation has found on average registered providers expect arrears to rise by 51 per cent. If this is extrapolated across the sector it will mean an increase of £245 million. 

Housing benefit and the under 25's

There is some concern that no announcement was made on housing benefit for the under 25's in the Autumn Statement, but we all know that the government is looking at a plethora of ways to reduce the massive deficit we inherited from the previous Labour government in a way that is fair and responsible to everyone.

The cost of housing benefit in our country almost doubled under the last government from £11 billion in 1999 to £21 billion in 2010, and in tough economic times it is not fair that those striving to make ends meet, also pay for the housing of those who can live at home. In some cases, housing benefit has trapped people in poverty and created a culture of entitlement. 

Workers claiming benefits told to increase hours or lose universal credit

Nearly 1m people who are in work and claim benefits may be required to work longer, increase their earnings or face losing access to the new universal credit, two welfare ministers, Lord Freud and Mark Hoban, said on Monday.

The state's capacity to ask more of those in work and those that are self-employed is likely to be transformed by the introduction of universal credit in April, the ministers said at a Policy Exchange event. 

Prison sentence for letting agent who stole deposits

The sentencing of an agent to jail after he stole tenants’ deposits worth more than £200,000 has been welcomed by the National Approved Letting Scheme.

Keith Ranson, who had run R House in Plymouth where he helped himself to the money before attempting to start a new life in Lincolnshire as a branch manager for WH Brown, was given two years in prison last Friday. 

Councils protest at benefit cap pilot

Councils being hit first by the benefits cap plan to lobby the government over fears they will be disadvantaged by the surprise move.

The government announced on 20 December that the £26,000 total household benefits cap will only apply to four councils, Haringey, Croydon, Enfield and Bromley, from 1 April and not to everywhere at the same time as widely expected. At least one, Croydon, is considering legal action to prevent the move. 

Lone parents worse off under Universal Credit

Under the Universal Credit, lone parent families will gain nothing from working more hours and in some cases could be worse off after having to pay for additional childcare and seeing their benefits reduced and tax increased, reveals a new report.

Children’s charity Barnardo's warns it will be impossible for some of the UK’s poorest families to ‘strive’ their way out of poverty by working more than 24 hours (lone parents) or 35 hours (couples) per week as the Government has claimed when the Universal Credit is introduced in October. 

MPs told 1% benefits cap will lead to increased homelessness

MPs will vote today on the Government's plans to place a 1% cap on working-age benefit rises - but have been warned that the changes are "likely to lead to increased homelessness".

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has argued that such a cap would be "unsustainable" and will lead to many tenants facing eviction as they find themselves unable to pay their rents. 

Direct housing benefit payments 'could push a million into debt'

A plan to make people financially responsible, by paying their housing benefit directly into their banks rather than to their landlords, risks backfiring, according to social policy experts.

The National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations in England, is warning that up to a million people in social housing will be at risk of falling into debt when the "universal credit" is rolled out next year.