|Autumn Statement – SFHA Reaction|
For Immediate Use: Thursday 5th December 2013
Autumn Statement – SFHA Reaction
Commenting after the Chancellor's Autumn Statement today (Thursday 5th December 2013),
"Ahead of the Autumn Statement, the SFHA asked the Chancellor to focus on three things to help Scotland's housing associations and co-operatives and their tenants. (1)
"Firstly, measures to stimulate affordable house building; secondly, to repeal the so-called 'bedroom tax' and thirdly, to fund a long-term programme of energy efficiency improvements to the housing stock, as the only way to tackle fuel poverty successfully.
"There is some good news on capital investment – it looks like both the Scottish Government and councils will have extra funds, which could be used to build more homes, which Scotland urgently needs. This must include more investment in new social housing."
Ms Watson continued:
"But the Chancellor's focus on a cap on benefits, including Housing Benefit, sadly doesn't recognise that measures such as the 'bedroom tax' will actually end up costing the public purse more. This is partly because it will force more social tenants into the private sector where rents are higher, and partly due to the extra costs for councils and housing associations.
"In addition, the measures to curb energy bill by £50 per household, by relaxing green obligations for the energy companies, are a short-term fix which will not improve energy efficiency and tackle fuel poverty in the long term."
For further information, contact Claire Munro on t: 0141 567 6244 m: 07771 926 778 or e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit our website at www.sfha.co.uk
|Delays to Universal Credit Cause Concern - SFHA|
Commenting on reports today (Thursday 5th December 2013) (1) that Universal Credit may not be fully implemented across the country by the 2017 deadline, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) expressed concern about the continued uncertainty for tenants in social housing and their landlords.
Universal Credit will see six benefit payments (Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit) rolled into one lump sum which will be paid in arrears directly to the claimant's bank account each month.
In November, Inverness became the first place in Scotland to adopt the system as part of a pilot in cities across the UK. (2)
Maureen Watson, Head of Policy at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations said:
"News of further delays to the nationwide roll-out of Universal Credit is not surprising given the Public Accounts Committee's recent findings of 'alarmingly weak' mismanagement of Universal Credit (3).
"This news increases uncertainty for tenants and for housing associations and co-operatives, who need certainty about rental income.
"At a time when 85,000 households across Scotland are being hit by the 'Bedroom Tax,' and both tenants and social landlords are awaiting further welfare reforms with some trepidation, the uncertainty around Universal Credit and the growing evidence that it is not being well-managed, do not bode well for the effectiveness of the UK Government's welfare reforms as a whole. The SFHA believes many of the measures will simply make life more difficult for tenants and social landlords, without making any real savings to the public purse."
For further information, contact Claire Munro on t: 0141 332 8113 m: 07771 926 778 or e: email@example.com
Visit our website at www.sfha.co.uk