Monday, 20 November 2017
When Theresa May announced that plans to introduce the LHA cap for both general needs social housing and supported housing was to be dropped, it’s fair to say that I (along with other housing association Chief Executives across the land), felt a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
For the past few years since George Osborne (whatever happened to him?) first announced the gap, we have been budgeting for the worst, which was rent arrears, evictions and the inevitable social consequences of this.
At time, it felt like we were running up an escalator with no-one to help us, but thankfully that escalator has now been switched off – at least for now!
So, we are now able to look at our financial numbers with a lot more optimism and the money we had budgeted for the cap can now be used elsewhere for future good.
It always amused me that previous Governments (and I am talking about both blue and red sides here) had said repeatedly that we should build more affordable homes and wondered why were not able to do this with things like the cap hovering over our head, if you will pardon the pun.
Now, as well as no LHA cap, we also know that increases to social housing rents will be limited to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 1% for five years from 2020.
This means we have more certainty in our business models, which will please our lenders and hopefully we can, and will, get back to the job of building new homes, whilst ensuring our existing customers remain happy with their homes and services.
Let's hope with the Chancellor's Autumn Statement just days away, there is more good news for the housing sector on the way. Watch this space...