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Attention all Chief Executives and Board Chairs!

The UK Government proposals to limit housing benefit and the housing cost element of Universal Credit to Local Housing Allowance (LHA) limits for any claimant in social housing threatens to leave them homeless and to leave their landlords with a serious shortfall in income.

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The measure, announced in former Chancellor George Osborne's autumn budget, will hit in particular single claimants under 35 with no dependents. They will only be entitled to a shared accommodation rate, which can be as low as £57 per week in some areas. Under threat also are tenants in supported housing, including those in hostels and refuges where the cost of services provided pushes rents well above LHA limits.

The SFHA will be pressing upon the UK Government the case for protecting benefit entitlement of some of the most vulnerable tenants that housing associations provide homes for. A survey is to identify the potential harm the LHA cap will cause associations and their tenants, and members are urged to complete the survey by the deadline of August 2nd.

Chief Executive Mary Taylor explained:

“In the recent House of Commons debate on supported housing, MP Alison Thewliss made a very telling contribution using information supplied by the SFHA and Blue Triangle Housing Association. Blue Triangle is but one example of an association that will be hit hard by these measures – every association will be affected and that’s why we really need members to complete the survey and identify case studies of those who could be affected so that we can show every MP and MSP “this is what could happen in your constituency if the measures are implemented in their current form – is this what you want?”

For further information about the proposed LHA cap and the survey, please contact Policy Advisor Jeremy Hewer at jhewer@sfha.co.uk.