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    Under universal credit, which will be phased in from April 2013, current benefits will be combined into a single payment. The housing element of the credit will be paid to tenants, rather than going straight to their landlord, raising fears that more tenants will fail to pay their rent.

    The NHF warns arrears could double to around £1 billion.

    This will severely impact on [housing associations’] ability to service debt, which could lead to a re-pricing on existing loans and reduce their ability to attract competitively priced finance in future.

    This will undermine housing associations’ ability to access the same level of funding, resulting in fewer homes being built.

    The federation calls for a ‘speedy and effective process for switching payments from claimant to landlord after a specified period of non-payment of rent by any tenant’.

    Mr Osborne told the Conservative Party conference in October that he wants to reduce welfare spending by £10 billion by the first year of the next parliament, on top of existing cuts.

    In the five-point submission the NHF also urges the chancellor to clarify long-term plans for social rents so housing associations can plan to build homes after 2015.

    Housing associations are ready to build now but are finding that the uncertainty regarding government’s plans post-2015 are acting as a barrier to their long-term planning.

    It calls for VAT on services provided to housing associations to renovate stock to be cut to 5 per cent, arguing this would save the 25 biggest housing associations £135 million a year, allowing them to finance the building of an extra 7,000 homes a year.

    And it calls for the cap on local authority borrowing to be raised to ‘realise the full potential of council housing finance reforms’.

    Source: Inside Housing




    November 20, 2012 by Support Solutions Categories: Housing And Benefits

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