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    It is not yet clear whether the Programme will deliver better value for money in the long term. The reduction in the grant paid to providers for each home will be funded in part by housing providers being able to charge higher rents to tenants, leading to an estimated £1.4 billion increase in housing benefit payments over 30 years. The Programme therefore shifts cost from one department to another.

    Those who receive higher benefits may in turn find it even harder to find employment that pays enough and so there will be more people who are more likely to be locked into benefit dependency.

    The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, today said:

    We welcome the 80,000 homes due to be built under the Affordable Homes Programme, but have serious concerns about the impact of financing the scheme partly through higher rents on the Housing Benefit bill and on affordability for tenants.

    The government expects providers to make up for the lower grant in part by charging tenants higher rents. This will lead to an estimated £1.4 billion increase in the Housing Benefit bill over the next 30 years.

    It is unclear whether this will provide better value for money in the long term

    We are also concerned that the poorest people may not benefit – higher rent levels may mean that social housing ends up with people on higher incomes rather than those in the greatest need.

    The Department must do more to understand the full impact of higher rent levels on tenants and ensure that resources are targeted where need is most acute.

    The Affordable Homes Programme addresses only 2 per cent of the unmet housing need in England and its future after 2015 remains uncertain. With 4.5 million people in England still waiting for an affordable home, the Department urgently needs to make clear how it will fund the growing demand for social housing.

    October 18, 2012 by Support Solutions Categories: Housing And Benefits

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    Responding to the DWP Consultation:  Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing

    "It was well-run, in a good location, and very useful.  I've only one suggestion; as the session went on it would perhaps have been useful for bullet points of general agreement about what should be in the sector response to be displayed and added to as the session went on, maybe on a flip chart. Regarding your response paper, I particularly like the answer you give to question 9.  In fact the general: "if it ain't broke don't fix it" response could be pushed harder."

    M.P. - Adref Ltd

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