• Local Housing Allowance

    I am opposed to the Government’s decision to freeze LHA rates and I believe that its failure to provide enough housing and support for the most vulnerable people in society is having a negative effect. I am concerned about the impact freezing LHA rates will have on residents in our constituency and across the country. Housing charities, local authorities and social landlords have all raised their concerns that this will result in shortfalls between rent levels and claimants’ entitlement to housing support. This could, in turn, result in rent arrears and increase the risk of homelessness for affected tenants. The housing charity, Shelter, has criticised the Government’s proposals saying it undermines the commitment to reduce homelessness as local authorities may struggle to find rented properties that are affordable for anyone needing housing benefit. More widely the Government has proposed to apply LHA rates to social rents, which charities, housing associations and councils all say will lead to the closure of vital housing for some of the most vulnerable people in our country. In the last six years the number of people sleeping rough on our streets has more than doubled, the number of homeless households has risen by almost half to nearly 60,000 and this year well over 120,000 children are without a home. At the General Election I stood on a manifesto that pledged to halt the Government’s plans to change the way supported housing is funded. The manifesto also committed to protecting the housing cost element of Universal Credit for 18-21 year olds which the Government has cut, and supported a review of the adequacy of support for housing costs through the social security system given the reduction in the housing safety net over the last seven years. Thank you once again for contacting me and for sharing your views. I will continue to urge the Government to abandon its proposed cap to LHA rates, build more affordable homes to rent, and give more security to tenants.