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Universal Credit will leave families '£1,600 worse off'

3rd February 2016

The introduction of universal credit (UC) means an estimated 2.1 million families are facing an average loss of £1,600 a year. But according to IFS research 1.8 million will gain an average of £1,500. UC, which combines six benefits into one monthly payment, was intended to be more generous than the current system but the IFS said cuts to the programme meant this would not be the case. But it said UC would encourage people into work and save £2.7bn a year. Ministers said the ...

Social landlords could save up to £40,000 by outsourcing their direct debits

28th January 2016

Payment solutions allpay Limited have released analysis showing the potential savings to be made by using its direct debit service. The figure, drawn from an analysis of allpay Limited’s client base of housing associations, Arm’s Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) and stock-holding local authorities, includes: Staff savings through automation Reduced transaction costs through increased take-up and; A reduction in arrears through offering greater flexibility around collection d...

SFHA urges housing benefit rethink

27th January 2016

Housing Benefit changes could cost sector hundreds of millions and threaten health and wellbeing of tenants The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) is urgently calling on the UK government to rethink upcoming changes to housing benefit which could cost the social housing sector hundreds of millions of pounds a year and put the health and wellbeing of vulnerable tenants at risk. The SFHA said that the changes, which will see the amount of rent covered by housing benefit in the social re...

Scoland increases housing subsidies

25th January 2016

Scotland’s housing subsidies are being increased for affordable homes for rent being delivered by councils and registered social landlords (RSLs) over the next three years. Subsidies help councils and RSLs acquire land or buildings and to build, convert or improve housing for social and affordable rent. Recommendations on increasing subsidy levels made by an expert group, which included housing associations and council representatives, have been agreed in full and will now be implemented f...

Opinion: I don’t want to see a London where Londoners can’t afford to live

21st January 2016

By Yvonne Arrowsmith, chief executive, East Thames Group Recently, I was lucky enough to participate in a panel on London’s living standards challenge by the Resolution Foundation. As the chief executive of a housing association that aims to be a high quality affordable housing provider and a living wage employer, living standards and rental affordability are at the forefront of many of the decisions I must make. Housing is high on the political agenda at the moment, and the government see...

Government discriminating against housing investment

20th January 2016

Government policies are discriminating against UK based investment in the housing market by making it easier for foreign investors to purchase properties. This allegation has been made by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) in its submission to the treasury ahead of the Budget in March. In the Autumn Statement it was announced that a 3% point levy would be added to stamp duty for the purchase of buy to let property, except where 15 or more properties are being purchased at once. As the ...

Green Party call for rent rise limit

19th January 2016

The continued rise in UK house prices revealed by the ONS today highlights the need for a limit to rent rises and an immediate review of affordable rents, according to the Green Party. Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett wants greater protection for people living in private rented accommodation that includes the creation of a Living Rent Commission by the government. Bennett said: “For young people, this rise in house prices means that the prospect of owning a warm and secure home is at best ...

FAH announce £15m investment

19th January 2016

Funding Affordable Homes (FAH), a social impact company which enables long-term socially responsible private investment into the affordable housing sector, has today announced that it has received an investment of £15m from Big Society Capital  FAH has also signed its first co-operation agreement in the general needs affordable housing sector, with Housing Solutions, a leading housing association in the South East, which owns, manages and maintains more than 7,500 homes. The agreement will s...

Housing market expected to remain buoyant in 2016

18th January 2016

Low inflation, combined with the chancellor’s decision to delay his changes to tax credits, will extend the good times for the UK housing market into this year, according to the EY ITEM Club’s winter forecast. Inflation is forecast to average only 0.4% in the first quarter of 2016 and is not expected to reach the key 1% benchmark until the final quarter. According to the forecast, inflation is likely to remain below the MPC’s 2% target for a prolonged period, averaging 1.6% in 2...

Second-home buyers face stamp duty hike of 500%

15th January 2016

One in ten of all UK property purchases will be affected by changes in stamp duty charges from April 1st 2016 according to a consultation paper issued by the government.  The details of the far-reaching effects of the new policy have emerged following the chancellor’s initial announcement on the issue in the last Autumn Statement.  David Gibbs, taxation partner at London based Alliotts accountants said: “The consultation paper makes clear that the proposed stamp duty charge ...