The changes to Housing Benefit announced in the 2015 Autumn Statement involve aligning the rules for claimants in the social sector with those for claimants renting privately. The Government says it recognises the importance of ensuring those who are providing supported accommodation to some of the most vulnerable members of our society receive appropriate protections. The Government says its departments will be working closely together and listening carefully to the concerns raised, to make sure that the right protections are in place.
The Government has commissioned an extensive review into supported housing to get an accurate picture of the sector's needs, and says it will report back in due course. This will help to determine how best to make sure the appropriate protections are in place, and the Government needs to provide workable and sustainable solutions for the supported housing sector. The details on this policy are still being considered. Reductions will not apply until April 2018 and the change will only apply to new or renewed tenancies from April 2016. It was confirmed in the 2016 Budget that for supported accommodation this will be delayed until April 2017 to allow time for the review to be considered.
The aim of these reforms is to make the system fairer and address the rising social sector Housing Benefit bill.
Around £50 billion is spent every year on benefits to support people with disabilities or health conditions, and that spending will be higher in every year until 2020 than it was in 2010. Funding for the Disabled Facilities Grant, which helps disabled people make adaptations to their home, is due to increase by nearly 80 per cent next year. The Government is also spending £400 million on delivering 8,000 specialist homes for the vulnerable, elderly or those with disabilities.