Friday, 19 September 2014

Shapps: affordable rent is here to stay

The housing minister has insisted the affordable rent regime is here to stay, despite accusations that it is unsustainable.

In a briefing ahead of his appearance at the Chartered Institute of Housing conference and exhibition this afternoon, Grant Shapps said affordable rent is a ‘long-term model’.

‘I don’t think the system is going to go away now,’ he said. ‘I think affordable rent, regardless of which political party is in power, will be a feature of the housing system.’

Earlier in the week outgoing CIH president Paddy Gray told the conference the government’s housing reforms are ‘flawed and unsustainable’.

Under affordable rent landlords will be able to charge rents at up to 80 per cent of market level, to fund more development. The Homes and Communities Agency is currently negotiating with landlords who have bid for funding through the scheme, which is intended to deliver 150,000 homes by 2015.

Mr Shapps said there have been more than 200 bids for funding, with an even geographical spread. ‘We are pretty confident that we should be able to get 150,000 plus affordable rent homes out of it,’ he said.

Mr Shapps was also questioned about the impact that paying benefits to cover housing costs to tenants rather than landlords could have on the attractiveness of the housing association sector to lenders, a subject covered by his ministerial colleague Lord Freud at the conference yesterday.

The housing minister said the government is well aware of the potential impact on housing association finances. ‘We have no intention of ending up with a system where landlords lose out,’ he said. ‘Quite the opposite. We want to see a system that has much more flexibility.’

Mr Shapps is not expected to give a speech at the conference, but will be responding to questions. The key theme of his appearance is expected to be transparency, with the announcement of a consultation on making housing associations subject to the freedom on information act, and a focus on the pay of senior executives in the sector.

Readers' comments (5)

  • And telling them to publish all expenditure over £500. And not being fazed if they retort that they are private companies which if they were forced to act like public bodies would have to have their £40bn debt pile loaded onto the PSBR.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Chris

    Another non-story from the Minister.

    Of course his affordable rent product is here to stay, especially as it was here to begin with under the name Intermediate Market Rent or Sub-market Rent.

    What is unsustainable is the Minister's insistance that it become the main tenure model - if that were sustainable then he would not be taking issue with the cost of HB, and there would be no waiting lists because everyone could afford the private sector level rents.

    All Shapps has proven with his statement is that he is as detached from reality as ever and devoid of understanding as always.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • ‘We have no intention of ending up with a system where landlords lose out'. But we are ending up with a system where tenants lose out. 80% market rent in social housing is a scandal.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I ask again how can we get rid of this man before he destroys the whole of the rented sector ALMO, HA, TMO, PRIVATE etc.

    Every time he makes a statement he causes upset, somebody please help tenants.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Chris

    There is a problem with the Minister's proposal to move the majority closer to market level rents, as shown by the recently released DWP statistics:


    At March 2011 There were 4.87 million recipients of Housing Benefit, of whom almost three-quarters were aged under 65.

    The average weekly amount of Housing Benefit paid to Social Housing Tenants was £67.83. (£3,527 per annum)
    The average weekly amount of Housing Benefit paid to RSL Housing Tenants was £77.16. (£4,012 per annum)

    68% of Social Sector tenants receiving Housing Benefit

    The average weekly amount of Local Housing Allowance Paid to regulated private tenants was £78.59. (£4,086 per annum)
    The average weekly amount of Local Housing Allowance paid to unregulated private tenants was £114.47. (£5,952 per annum)

    79% of Private Sector tenants receiving the Local Housing Allowance

    (source: DWP STATISTICAL SUMMARY; 15th June 2011)

    What the Minister is proposing is to move as many of the people from the £3,527 and £4,012 per annum bands into the £5,952 per annum. On cost to the taxpayer alone this would appear to be movement in the wrong direction. At least if the regulated rent levels, which currently attract and average benefit of £4,086 would save the tax payer nearly £2,000 per benefit entitled tenant per year.

    Of course, there is the better alternative of allowing more people access to social rents, but why on earth would the Minister want to save nearly £2,500 per benefit entitled tenant per year.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up

More Newsletters

Related

Articles

  • Action stations

    25/10/2013

    In his first interview since becoming housing minister two weeks ago, Kris Hopkins tells Martin Hilditch how he’ll be a vocal advocate for England’s regions, why welfare reforms are right and how he’ll listen to social landlords’ concerns

  • A guide to the Housing 2014 conference and exhibition

    23 June 2014

    Inside Housing provides a guide to some of the key events at this year’s Chartered Institute of Housing conference and exhibition in Manchester.

  • The fight for justice

    11/10/2013

    In 2007 Suzanne Muna was wrongly accused of producing a racist leaflet that was distributed at Unison’s annual conference. Here, the Homes and Communities Agency employee reveals the toll her six-year battle for justice has taken on her life. Martin Hilditch reports

  • 2020 vision

    25 September 2013

  • The day after

    13 November 2013

Resources

  • Mind over matter

    09/05/2014

    A Merseyside landlord is training its staff to become mental health first aiders to help them support both colleagues and tenants, as Helen Clifton reports

  • Express yourself

    06/12/2013

    A research study in Merseyside aims to prove that artistic therapy can help people with Alzheimer’s and their families cope better with the disease. Ciara Leeming investigates

  • Trade secrets

    13/06/2014

    Can learning from other sectors help social landlords do their jobs better? Heather Spurr visits retail icon John Lewis with a number of landlords to find out

  • Dragons' Den for retrofit technology

    4 September 2014

    Copying the popular BBC format, Accord Group set up a Dragons’ Den of its own to find the best green technologies to test in a £3m retrofit project. Simon Brandon finds out why

  • Reaching crisis point

    02/05/2014

    Tenants on the verge of eviction are being helped to remain in their homes by a recently formed social enterprise that is saving their landlords significant sums in the process. Daniel Douglas finds out how

IH Subscription