Spending cuts may force landlords to halt activities which improve life chances
Report: reforms could hamper social mobility
The coalition government’s spending cuts and welfare reforms risk hindering housing providers’ attempts to boost social mobility, according to a new report.
Social mobility and social housing will be published next Wednesday at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s annual conference in Manchester by Inside Housing and the CIH with support from Gentoo. It finds many social landlords provide a range of activities which can help social mobility, including apprenticeships, youth activities and help with financial inclusion. But it warns that cuts to grant funding, the economic landscape and welfare reforms could leave associations struggling to maintain these activities.
The report says: ‘Savings and surpluses which social housing providers have been able to redirect from their mainstream business to their community investment programmes may now be under pressure.’
The report follows an inquiry by politicians chaired by Lord Richard Best, which collected evidence from housing providers and academics.
Lord Best said: ‘Social landlords are actually doing a lot more than people appreciate and realise and all of this is clearly making a significant difference in getting people into jobs.’
However, he cautioned that these activities might be cut back as finances get tight.
The study finds it would be a mistake for landlords to neglect the provision of affordable homes in pursuit of ambitious initiatives to tackle social mobility.
Ken Perry, chief executive of housing association Plus Dane, which contributed to the SMASH report, said landlords should work together to maintain schemes to promote social mobility despite funding constraints.
The report also finds there is no evidence to suggest social housing causes social problems or leads to disadvantage, although it warns about the risk of stigmatisation.
Grainia Long, chief executive of the CIH, said: ‘The communities social landlords work in can really benefit from efforts to create employment opportunities, mix incomes and support education.’