Long-term supported housing will continue to be funded through the social security system, the government has announced, while it has also scrapped plans to cap housing benefit payments, which caused huge concerns across the sector over the last two years.
Former chancellor George Osborne announced two years ago in his autumn statement that no-one living in social housing would be entitled to housing benefit higher than those in private sector accommodation.
Critics warned that this took no account of the cost of providing care and support services for tenants – there are currently about 650,000 supported homes across Britain – including many working-age disabled people.
Social care and housing experts warned that the move would have “disastrous” consequences, and Osborne’s announcement appears to have had a serious impact on investment in new supported housing schemes.
The National Housing Federation has said that 85 per cent of all building plans for new supported, sheltered or extra care housing over the last two years had been halted by the government’s plans.
Prime minister Theresa May announced last week that the government would not after all be capping housing benefit payments for those in supported housing or the wider social housing sector.
And the government has this week published two new consultation documents, as well as a policy statement that confirms that long-term supported housing will continue to be paid through the social security system.
The government’s previous plan, announced last year, had been for any top-up funding above normal levels of housing benefit to be devolved to local authorities.