Associations Warn They Will Snub HCA Grant Funding
Inside Housing has reported a warning from housing associations which "won’t bid for grant funding if they are required to build small homes"
They will reject up to £1.7 billion of HCA grant "if they are forced to build large numbers of one and two-bedroom homes." This is because the bidding criteria for the 2015/18 affordable homes programme requires them to focus on one or two-bedroom properties in order to provide properties for tenants to move in to if they are threatened with the 'Bedroom Tax'. Social housing providers however believe that they should be the ones to decide on where need is greatest, and that their housing policy should not be influenced by government austerity measures.
The article quotes Tony Stacey, chair of the Placeshapers group of 100 housing associations ‘We aren’t going to build homes that are going to be difficult to let in five or 10 years just because of this government’s welfare policy." And as Charlotte Harrison, executive director at the Northern Housing Consortium, points out: "If the under-occupancy charges were repealed, we would be setting in train developments that will immediately become obsolete."
This farcical situation shows the degree to which austerity measures are corrupting the process of building social housing. Tenants affected by the 'Bedroom Tax' are usually people who are settled in their homes and their communities. They neither need nor want to move home and the disruption caused by forcing them out will have negative social consequences. The focus should be on housing the homeless and easing over-crowding. The cost of Housing Benefit has been driven up by the high cost of renting, and it would be far better, and more effective, to introduce a policy of rent caps not benefit caps.
Read the full Inside Housing article.