My Noble Friend The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) has made the following Written Statement.
In the Autumn Statement 2015, we announced that when assessing eligibility for Housing Benefit and Universal Credit that Local Housing Allowance rates would be applied to all social rents from April 2018, where tenants had signed new or re-let tenancies from 1 April 2016.
I am able to announce today that the Government will put in place a year-long exception for all tenants of supported accommodation in the social sector so that this measure will only apply to these tenancies from April 2017, rather than April 2016. As examples, this will include refuges for those fleeing domestic abuse, homeless provision, housing for ex-offenders, as well as supported housing for older and disabled people. I can also confirm that the one year exception will extend to housing co-operatives, alms houses and Community Land Trusts.
I am doing this because I understand the importance of ensuring that both those living in supported accommodation and those who provide this type of accommodation receive appropriate protections. This is why we are awaiting the outcome of a Supported Accommodation research project and subsequent policy review, to ensure support is focused on the most vulnerable, and appropriate groups are safeguarded. I consider it important to have evidence to support any decisions made, before determining the level of any protections for this cohort beyond April 2017.
I will write to social landlords and provide guidance that will allow them to advise people taking on new and re-let tenancies from either April 2016 or April 2017 (for supported accommodation) as to how they may be impacted.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: