CIH Scotland responds to Social Security Committee’s call for evidence
UK Government welfare reform measures are having a significant impact on private landlords and their tenants.
In evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee, CIH Scotland notes that the erosion of Local Housing Allowance (LHA), the benefit cap and the rollout of Universal Credit are limiting people’s housing choice, local authorities’ ability to discharge homelessness duty and could impede the Scottish Government’s rapid rehousing and Housing First agenda.
It adds that changes to LHA mean that in many areas across Scotland, the maximum amount that tenants can claim is no longer enough to cover the cost of renting in the bottom 30% of the market. In some areas, the cash shortfall between LHA and the actual cost of renting at the 30th percentile of the market is over £30 per week.
In conclusion to the Social Security Committee’s call for evidence on support with housing costs, CIH Scotland has recommended that:
- The LHA freeze should be lifted with immediate effect;
- LHA rates should be revised to bring them back into line with the actual cost of renting;
- The extension of the Shared Accommodation Rate should be reversed;
- The DWP needs to be fully resourced to avoid administrative errors and delays in Universal Credit Payments; and
- DWP must do more to ensure that information and advice given by staff is accurate and consistent.
CIH Scotland Policy and Practice Manager Ashley Campbell said:
“Welfare reform changes are causing real hardship for thousands of households across Scotland and the UK. We are pleased to see the Social Security Committee focus particularly on the impact in the private rented sector where tenants might not always have access to the support they need.
“The Scottish Government has committed to an ambitious plan to tackle homelessness in Scotland through rapid rehousing and Housing First. However, analysis of homelessness and social housing supply figures show that it will be difficult to meet need in high demand areas through social housing alone. Private rented homes can play a vital role in our housing system but only if the social security system provides adequate support for tenants and landlords and reflects the real cost of renting.”
Notes to Editors
1. The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards. Our goal is simple – to provide housing professionals with the advice, support and knowledge they need to be brilliant. CIH is a registered charity and not-for-profit organisation. This means that the money we make is put back into the organisation and funds the activities we carry out to support the housing sector. We have a diverse membership of people who work in both the public and private sectors, in 20 countries on five continents across the world. Further information is available at www.cih.org
2. CIH Scotland’s full response to the call for evidence is available here http://www.cih.org/publication-free/display/vpathDCR/templatedata/cih/publication-free/data/Scotland/CIH_Scotland_submission_on_support_for_housing_costs?utm_source=Chartered%20Institute%20of%20Housing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=10305410_CIH%20Scotland%20elected%20member%20newsletter%20-%20March%202019&dm_t=0,0,0,0,0
3. For further information, please contact Ashley Campbell, Policy and Practice Manager firstname.lastname@example.org