As we continue to emerge from lockdown measures and deal with local measures and the short and long term economic impact of Covid-19, local authorities will need to re-assess how services will be delivered for years to come.
- Those working in struggling neighbourhoods will continue to see the fall out from the squeeze on the welfare budget. The tightening of the benefit cap and the current and future restriction of tax credits will impact directly on the poorest families, both in and out of work. Local charities and community organisations tell us they are already picking up the “fall out”, and this is likely to put a greater strain on organisations working with these communities.
- Many community organisations and social enterprises work closely with social housing providers. The latter got some nasty shocks in the budget, and are reeling from the potential impact of the “pay to stay” proposals for higher earners in social housing, combined with the plans to reduce rents in the social sector by 1% in each of the next 4 years. This, combined with the introduction of Universal Credit, will see housing associations going through a major review of their finances. The concern is that this will see housing providers reduce their support for social enterprise and the community sector significantly, further undermining an already stretched resource.
- Tenant Management Organisations and other community based housing providers will feel the impact of the rent reductions directly and will need to review their financial projections urgently. We understand that the “pay to stay” provisions will also apply to those in local authority housing, so TMOs will have to digest the implications – both financial and practical – here too.
- Social enterprises and co-ops will have many staff in lower paid roles, and will therefore need to review the financial impact of the national living wage. Whilst supporting people on low wages is laudable in principle, the burden is being passed from the state to the employer. In the public sector and in community organisations, of course, there is little or no scope to take account of this through pricing.
- Charities should note that on Budget Day, the government also announced plans to further review business rates and the associated reliefs. We have already seen social enterprises being refused discretionary rate relief and the scrutiny here is only likely to increase.
So in conclusion, some major implications to digest, especially for those close to the social housing sector or working in deprived communities. Like you, we will be watching the detail of how these proposals unfold carefully.
For more information
Contact David Alcock.
The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
Throughout this pandemic, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been publishing various “Statements on Coronavirus” (Statements) which provide guidance on consumer rights during this time.
A recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the UK means new measures are being put in place in an effort to reduce the risk of a second wave. Whilst the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, it is important to remain focused on the sector’s road to recovery.
Sometimes half an hour at a conference gives you the reality that has been staring you in the face all along. That was my experience watching “Change is on the Horizon”
Following our recent e-briefing on Possession Notices, Helen Tucker and Emilie Pownall from our housing litigation team discuss the impact of the changes on social landlords.
Not only has the possession stay been extended until 20 September, the notice periods to be given to tenants has been extended in certain circumstances with some important exceptions.
The Court has confirmed that a party cannot withhold its consent in order to re-write the original bargain.
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