CIH responds to spending review
CIH's chief executive Terrie Alafat has responded to today's announcement of a one-year spending settlement by Chancellor Sajid Javid.
"We recognise this was an unusual spending review: it dealt with only one year, and with only a few exceptions it relates only to revenue, rather than capital spending.
"We welcome the additional £54 million the Chancellor announced to tackle rough sleeping. CIH has previously called for more money to help councils meet their legal obligations.
"We are disappointed the government has not included housing in those areas, like health and education, getting a long-term additional funding settlement. We are facing a national housing crisis, and every day we do nothing about it, it’s getting worse. Having a safe and secure home with the right support is as important as having access to good schools and hospitals in building thriving families and sustainable communities.
"While the additional £40 million for discretionary housing payments will be helpful, it will not make up for the effects of the freeze on local housing allowance, which continues to cause misery.
"In some parts of the uk as much as 97 per cent of private rents are now simply unaffordable under benefit rules. This leaves thousands of families having to choose between paying their rent and feeding their children. It is a national shame that people face being made homeless and councils have to spend £1 billion a year on temporary accommodation because LHA is failing to do its job. Restoring LHA to cover the most affordable 30 per cent of rents in this spending review would have brought the government significant savings in the benefit bill, as well as giving some of our most vulnerable fellow-citizens a more secure environment in which to live.
"Given the huge problem facing councils in meeting social care needs the additional £1 billion is welcome. There will also be a consultation on whether councils should be allowed to raise an extra £0.5 billion, though this would put the onus on councils to increase council tax, and we are concerned that the areas that need this extra help the most may be those least able to meet that cost.
"Given the huge role housing plays in supporting effective care, we are disappointed the Chancellor failed to mention housing in this context. We still don’t have a sustainable plan for funding support services. This causes real problems for landlords and service providers and does not create an environment in which organisations will invest in new supported housing. But more importantly this chronic uncertainty should not be a feature of the lives of some of our most vulnerable fellow citizens."