Autumn Statement: our response
Autumn Statement: Relief as proposals to cut Housing
Benefit to under 25s are dropped
National affordable housing provider
Affinity Sutton responds to Chancellor George Osborne’s 2012 Autumn
The scale of need for new housing is demonstrated by the
government’s own assessments – which estimate a backlog of
outstanding need of around 1.9 million households.
We welcome the Chancellor’s re-announcement of a £10BN Bond
Guarantee for Housing but would like more detail on what it is
going to deliver and how it will work.
Similarly we were encouraged to hear the Government’s pledge on
funding and reforms to build 120,000 new homes. We cautiously await
more details on what this entails, the proportion that will be
‘affordable’ and whether these homes will be in addition to those
already planned. As part of this, and the proposals for
Government department’s to increase their efficiency, we would like
to see more details about the plans for investing in infrastructure
to facilitate the release of public land and a more explicit
commitment that much of this should be for new housebuilding.
We echo the National Housing Federations concerns over the
proposals to create a single housing pot for local enterprise
partnerships. Will the money be ring-fenced, and will there be
flexibility to move money to areas of greatest need?
Affinity Sutton welcomes the decision not to announce cuts to Housing Benefit for those aged under 25
- a measure that for many young people would have resulted in
poverty, increased rent arrears, hardship and even
We are pleased that the Government has recognised that removing
a vital safety net from people purely determined by their age is
not the best way to reduce the benefits bill.
Similarly we welcome the announcement to protect the most
vulnerable, those that are disabled and carers, from below
inflation cuts to benefits.
However we are deeply concerned that proposals
to cap working age benefit increases at 1% for the next three years
could push those already struggling further into poverty.
As a landlord we are finding an increasing
number of our residents – including those in low paid jobs - are
reliant on food banks to help feed themselves and their families
each week and in real terms, this measure will make even more of
our poorest residents worse off. We are also concerned that
cutting benefits, in real terms, will force more people to resort
to high interest payday loans to meet everyday expenses.
Pay to stay
Affinity Sutton shares the concerns of the National Housing
Federation and the Chartered Institute of Housing over the
costs of Government proposals to charge
higher earning social housing residents increased rents.