It’s looking bleak on the social housing front - but there are some reinforcements
A risky game
Social housing tenants are stuck in the midst of a classic pincer movement of which General Montgomery himself would be proud. The massed armies of welfare reform have formed on one flank while the gathering hoards of affordable rents are camped on another - the outlook seems bleak.
There have already been some exchanges involving non-dependent deductions, but the elite troops of the bedroom tax brigade will not yet be sent into battle.
So where does this leave the many individuals and families within these communities who never did well in the good times and who have also been impacted by other austerity measures? They will face huge financial pressures, which in turn will create social pressures.
In Liverpool we have already seen the demise of the housing market renewal initiative, which has left some tenants waiting to be decanted so they can move into the new homes they have been promised. How will these properties be delivered other than through affordable rents?
Tenants who have been living in sub-standard accommodation for too long now face paying 80 per cent market rents and potentially a bedroom tax too - a hard message for landlords to communicate. Equally, non-resident parents will have to choose whether to have a room for their children at weekends and be hit with the bedroom tax. There will be huge implications from the changes, some of which we can’t even predict.
Difficult as things will be we must meet these challenges positively. We are fortunate in Liverpool that our new mayor has placed housing and economic prosperity at the top of his agenda. We will be proud to work with him to mitigate the worst impacts upon our communities.
By sending in these reinforcements we can hopefully fend off the armies gathered on our flanks.
Steve Coffey is chief executive of Liverpool Mutual Homes