After Wednesday’s debacle in the House of Commons over the LHA maxima cap policy that will, and definitively WILL, close all refuges and all hostels and at least 156,000 supported and sheltered housing units, it’s a case of Deja-Vu with the incredulous Lord David Anthony Freud Tory or Lord Daft for short.
Inside Housing in it’s usual supine Panglossian manner releases this:
Firstly, a subtle nuance of Lord Daft conceding that the (LHA maxima) cut will come in by saying he will act urgently to ensure ‘protections’ are in place.
Yet we have been here before with precisely the same reassurance on precisely the same issue from precisely the same Lord Daft back in July 2011 when the Conservatives first unveiled this LHA maxima policy in a consultation paper.
That is the frontispiece of the consultation which proposed the same LHA maxima cap policy as one of its 3 options. The other two were LHA + £20 per week and LHA + £40 per week.
The above alleged consultation, I say alleged as these 3 options were presented a fait accompli with no alternatives and comments were ONLY sought on these 3 options and by the same DWP Minister, Lord Freud aka Lord Daft. I remember this very vividly as it was the reason I began blogging as I could see immediately that all of these 3 options would close homeless hostels and DV refuges and all other short-term / emergency access / direct access supported housing.
I even ran projections of these 3 LHA maxima / LHA plus options on homeless and DV refuge providers I was advising and the scale of housing benefit cut this would bring was between 24% and 65% of housing benefit income.
Many others responded and presumably with similar comments at the time – I say presumably because the Conservative-led coalition did not even issue any form of consultation response – In simple terms they got a kicking and realised that all of these LHA maxima and LHA plus proposals were a dog’s breakfast.
Instead they – and led by Lord Daft – had a series of behind closed doors meetings with the usual suspects (and which I still have the minutes of all of them) which led after 3 years to two outcomes.
The first was a wider definition of the old “exempt accommodation” to become what is now called “Specified Accommodation.”
The second was that this “specified accommodation” would have to carry on outside the all singing all dancing Universal Credit project. [Errata, this took 4 years to admit not 3 my apologies!]
Yes, the Tories and Lord Freud specifically, had totally forgotten to include supported and sheltered housing in the design of Universal Credit, they simply missed the minimum 782,000 supported and sheltered housing units out of their considerations and IT specification for Universal Credit.
So when we now read (in the supine Panglossian Inside Housing) that Lord Freud will ‘urgently act’ you can rest assured that his version of the term “urgent” is impossible to find in any dictionary.
That also means that ALL refuges and hostels and all other short-term services (care leavers, ex /sex / mentally disordered offenders et al and not forgetting homeless families units) WILL close.
Such services will never be rebuilt as I have continually stated since I first raised this issue on 15 December 2015 and ever since and how many of the Panglossian housing people will have seen or read this one comment from yesterday’s debate from John Healey:
Golden Lane Housing, Mencap’s housing arm, had plans for £100 million investment over the next five years in supported housing across England, but they have been scrapped
Yes that does say £100 million of plans for new supported housing has been scrapped and just from 1 support provider and because the revenue funding in housing benefit will be so severely cut that new supported housing, like new sheltered housing is wholly non financially viable.
How many will have read or seen this being said by Clive Betts: –
When I am rung up by Tony Stacey, the chief executive of South Yorkshire Housing Association, who is widely respected by people on both sides of the House because of the work of his association and his personal commitment, and he says that the impact of these measures will be a £2.8 million reduction in the income of the association, out of a £20 million budget, that is a matter of major concern
A £2.8 million cut on £20 million turnover is 14% housing people! That’s FOURTEEN PER CENT and you all have your knickers in a twist and are making 15% of staff redundant and seeking 25% efficiency savings over a 1% cut.
But shame on me for saying – again continually – that the NHF have constantly and deliberately downplayed this issue and very very recently issued knowing underestimates of the impact of the LHA maxima cap issue!! Yet today the big cheese himself admits that 156,000 properties just run by housing associations will CLOSE …. Just how I have the temerity to criticise Glorious Leader Orr I don’t know myself!!
Then this evening (Thursday) I noticed this !!!!
This is Women’s Aid retweeting a story that the Guardian got hopelessly wrong when they say “Plans to cap benefits for social housing tenants in line with private sector deferred for a year until review is completed.”
No! No! No! The government agreed to defer the 1% rent cut to supported housing for a year NOT the LHA maxima cap policy which is the one that reduces social housing rents in line with private rents.
Wholly inept of the Guardian to run this fallacious piece, yet a thousands times as inept for Women’s Aid in believing this fiction – especially when the LHA maxima cap is the one that will close ALL refuges and put Women’s aid out of business too!!
Ye Gods – or some Anglo Saxon words to the same effect – just how do housing associations or support providers such as YMCA or Women’s Aid have the nerve to say they are on the side of vulnerable people and have a social ethos if they are so incompetent as seeing what the LHA maxima cap policy means?! The same could be said for Age UK and EROSH who have also been very quiet publicly on this cataclysmic policy.
I wish I was articulate enough to coin a phrase for the thin veneer, fur coat and no knickers, superficial and hollow feigned concern all of these organisations who have their heads so far up their own arses and only see daylight when it comes to their own lobbyist survival, that have grown so remote from the very vulnerable people they claim to serve they never see the bloody obvious death this policy causes!
They too all share the Lord Daft definition of urgent!!
PS We already have the LHA cap (no more than £400 per week housing benefit introduced in 2012) so can we all please refer to this ideological bullshit of a policy that WILL CLOSE ALL hostel and refuge as the LHA maxima cap or just LHA maxima as that describes what it does – cutting HB to the maximum LHA
In just over 9 weeks time and starting in April, between 9% and 16% of all sheltered and supported housing tenants will be new ones this forthcoming financial year and so will face massive HB cuts from April 2018.
Unless social landlords adopt a policy of no new sheltered, extra care or supported tenants will be admitted if they are on housing benefit from 9 weeks time then this whole issue is URGENT as a definition that we all do recognise.
So, on the off chance that David Lord Freud has this put under his nose ….
Tonight Matthew, says Lord Freud I’m going to be Diana Ross…
UPDATE 10.27 pm
The Guardian has now corrected its significant mistake and says this at the end of the article I reference above:
• This article was amended on 28 January 2016. An earlier version said incorrectly the government had announced that housing benefit cuts for people living in social housing would be deferred for a year; what it announced was that the forthcoming 1% cut in social rents would be delayed by a year for supported housing.
Frankly, the fact I report that Women’s Aid read and retweeted the earlier incorrect view of the Guardian and given the monumental consequences of accepting the original Guardian view as fact, warrants far more than a postscript as the Guardian has done.
That too is also URGENT!
pps I assume that when the government say it has deferred the 1% rent cut for supported housing they are including sheltered housing in that definition of supported (sheltered housing is not necessarily supported housing – they are different precise terms.)