During the Covid-19 pandemic, much of the focus has been on shoring up existing delivery and, where possible, extending arrangements if it is not possible to re-procure.
"Twelve pilot schemes have been taking place across the UK in order to judge the effectiveness of the Government's proposed Universal Credit scheme. Whereas previously benefits have been paid directly to social landlords, housing benefit payments will now be paid directly to the tenant as part of universal credit.
The intention behind the new system is to give claimants responsibility for their own income. Whilst in theory this is a positive move, local authorities and housing associations need to ensure that tenants are appropriately equipped to manage their finances and are not thrown in at the deep end. The pilots do unfortunately seem to confirm the predictions that there will be a dramatic increase in the level of rent arrears for housing providers.
In the South Wales pilot 50 per cent of the people in rent arrears have never been in debt in this way before, which indicates that many tenants are simply not ready for the transition. With the shortfall estimated to be around £14 million in some areas, this change will have a serious impact, not only on individuals but also across whole communities.
Housing providers have been planning for these changes since the concept of universal credit was introduced and liaising with tenants to minimise the impact of the changes where possible. However the conclusions of the pilot scheme suggest that only once the changes are fully implemented, with the ‘bedroom tax’ taking effect on 1 April and universal credit starting from October, will tenants and housing providers start to see the real impact. Perhaps the challenge is greater than feared …”
The Prime Minister announced on Tuesday 22 September a new range of restrictions to protect us from the Covid crisis, some of which will apply to charities.
Following the end of the possession stay on 21 September, Helen Tucker & Rebecca Sembuuze from our housing litigation team discuss the most recent guidance, priority cases and what to expect in court.
Covid-19 has resulted, on the whole, in a marked co-operation between contracting authorities and their suppliers as everybody focuses on maintaining delivery as far as possible.
Employment Tribunal rules in favour of claimants in minimum wage case – has the interpretation of “working time” changed?
As we enter a recession, we have been here before, and a key question is what did we learn and how can we benefit from that learning?
It is anticipated that as lockdown restrictions ease, and particularly with children and young adults returning to education, cases of meningitis will start to rise.
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.
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.
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.