SNP Treasury and Cities spokesperson at Westminster Alison Thewliss MP has said that the U-turn by the Prime Minister over the Housing Benefit Cap is welcome, but that the delay in changes to the policy has caused “undue stress and anxiety to the supported housing sector.”
The Prime Minister announced the Government would not now be rolling out changes that would see people living in social housing having their housing benefit capped in line with the private rented sector.
Theresa May used PMQs today in attempt to bury the u-turn – before a debate at Westminster in the afternoon afternoon.
Alison Thewliss MP commented: ‘‘By burying this u-turn in the noise of PMQs, the Prime Minister has shown utter disrespect to those in the housing sector who have been waiting for an announcement.
“Distracted by the chaos of Brexit and the General Election, the UK Government have delayed making a decision on this vital issue for far too long.
“I welcome the announcement, and am sure it will come as a major relief to many. This uncertainty has caused undue stress and anxiety to the supported housing sector.
“The sector has done fantastic work campaigning against this the LHA cap and informing and lobbying the UK Government about the major damage this would cause to renters and providers.
“The Communities and Local Government & Work and Pensions Committee report in April made a range of recommendations, and the UK Government now need to confirm if they will act on the other issues facing supported housing providers.
“The uncertainty they have already caused has seen funding cut and investment plans shelved.
“One u-turn must now follow with another – the Tories must now listen to all the calls to abandon the awful roll out of Universal Credit, which is also leaving people short of rent money and facing eviction.’’
Chartered Institute of Housing chief executive Terrie Alafat CBE added: “This is great news. CIH has consistently called on the government to rethink its plans to cap housing benefit for people living in supported housing at Local Housing Allowance rates, because it would have put homes for some of the most vulnerable people in our society at risk.
“We have also pointed out that applying the cap to the wider social housing sector risked putting social housing out of reach for younger people in particular in many areas.
“The government has clearly listened to the concerns of housing professionals across the UK – we await further details of the new funding proposals with interest.”