A very good day at conference. Tomorrow is the big speech Salford City Council Leader John Merry on delivering best practice at a local level. Strange word i have heard it so often but i have never seen a working model. Perhaps John would like to offer a view.
Last Updated – 3rd October 2010 at 02:53 PM –>
Any tenant who is currently in receipt of housing benefit is at risk of having the amount they receive reduced under a range of proposed changes announced in the budget in June.
Housing leaders have already expressed concerns in a recent CIH survey that the reforms threaten hardship for individuals, increased rent arrears and a potential knock-on effect on new housing supply.
CIH analysis has revealed that the impact of one change alone, for example reducing housing benefit by 10 per cent for those on Job Seekers’ Allowance for over 12 months, would see claimants living in social homes lose on average £6.70 per week and those living in private sector housing lose on average £11.20 per week. Many low income households will be hit hard by more than one measure at once.
The new housing benefit impact calculator allows landlords to accurately estimate the amount of income which could be at risk on the basis of their rental income, geographical area and type of housing stock. Additional support from CIH in the form of an organisational impact report and an on-site review will help housing providers prepare for and mitigate the impact of the proposed changes on their tenants and on their business.
Steve Partridge, Director of Financial Services at CIH, said: “Landlords need to be prepared for the proposed changes to housing benefit which will hit their tenants hard as well as posing a significant risk to their business. We are offering a comprehensive service to help them understand the risks and ultimately mitigate the worst effects on their organisations and the communities they serve.”
One housing organisation has already trialled the service. Craig Wood, Debt Manager at Wakefield and District Housing, said: “The work WDH has done with CIH has meant that we now have a much clearer understanding of what the proposed changes will actually mean to our business and the real impact they could have on our customers. We are already using this information to consider alternative strategies that will reduce the risk of any negative financial impact to our organisation.”
CIH is doing extensive work with MPs and officials to ensure that the potential impacts of the reforms are fully understood and to reduce the worst consequences of the proposed changes.
Vince Cable, the secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, the department that includes universities, and David Willetts, the higher education minister, are said to be convinced of the need to increase fees, but only to the level of £7,000, and alongside “progressive” measures to help the poorest. The shock of Browne’s recommendation, if he sticks to it, could make such plans appear moderate.
The issue of fees is toxic for the Liberal Democrats, with many of the party’s MPs having signed a pledge to oppose any increase in fees. Senior figures such as former leader Sir Menzies Campbell have promised to rebel in any vote that would increase the levels that universities can charge. Campbell, who is chancellor of St Andrew’s University, said yesterday: “My root objection is to students being saddled with mountains of debt by the time they leave university.”
How do we build a nation of highly skilled people, when they can’t afford the funds needed to learn?