Supported housing excepted from rent reduction
Ministers have announced the intention to except all supported housing from the one per cent rent reduction required under the provisions of the Welfare Reform and Work Bill for a period of one year.
During the debate on the Welfare Reform and Work Bill in the House of Lords on 27 January 2016 the government announced a one year exception to the one per cent rent reduction for all supported housing pending completion of a review into the funding of supported housing due to be completed and published later this year.
Speaking in the debate in the House of Lords, Lord Freud (Minister for Welfare Reform) announced the one year exception saying:
"I can announce today that the Government will put in place a year-long exception for all supported accommodation from the 1% reduction. That gives us the time to study the evidence from the review. We will start to get findings in the spring, as I said. We will work with the supported housing sector to ensure that the essential services they deliver continue to be provided after the year long exception - also making sure, of course, that the taxpayer is protected and the Government's fiscal commitments are met, and that we make the best use of the money available. We will look urgently at this to provide certainty for the sector. While the exception is in place, those providers will be able to continue to apply the CPI plus 1% rent increase to any supported accommodation that they own.
My noble friend Lord Young asked what we include in the sector. As I said, it is a wide definition and it includes housing such as domestic violence refuges, hostels for the homeless, sheltered accommodation for older people, extra care housing, and accommodation for people with mental health or drug/alcohol problems, ex-offenders, people at risk of offending, women at risk of domestic violence-a large number of groups. I have spelt out some, but there will be others. I can also confirm that the one-year exception will extend to housing co-operatives, almshouses and community land trusts. The detail will be set out in the regulations we will bring forward very soon, following Royal Assent. The intention is that these regulations will be in place for the start of the new financial year." (Source Hansard 27 Jan 2016 : Column 1378)
Following a request for clarity on which homes would be affected, the following response was received.
"Our intention is that this be a wide definition. All supported housing as currently set out in the rent standard guidance will be excepted from the rent reduction for a period of 1 year and providers should use this as a guide as they set rents for 2016-17. The exact definition will be defined in regulations. For the purposes of clarity we intend that the exception will include though not necessarily be limited to:
- domestic violence refuges and other specialist accommodation based support for domestic violence victims
- hostels and other accommodation for the homeless
- sheltered accommodation for older people
- supported accommodation for young people
- extra care housing,
- accommodation for people with mental health or drug/alcohol problems,
- accommodation for people with disabilities
- accommodation for ex-offenders and people at risk of offending.