LHA for social housing?

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    A colleague has put a seed of doubt in my mind. They are convinced they have heard something about plans for LHA (or something similar) being rolled out to social housing.

    I thought this wasn’t the case, and the government don’t really know what to do about social housing reform.

    Does my colleague know something I don’t, or are they just very confused?



    No, they are not that confused. The original plan to pay tenants direct in social housing is definitely back on the agenda and there is a lot of noise about social housing not being treated differently. Plus the suggestion that social housing should be awarded for fixed terms and not for life.

    Social housing is not working at the moment (it is claimed). The numbers on benefits is at almost record highs compaed to the unempoyed rate.

    Expect a radical change in strategy under a new Brown administration – everything is possible it seems.

    Andy Shanks

    I saw an interview with Frank Field and one of the things he was proposing was HB paid for a limited fixed period, was proposing that it may be for a year and the rate of award would be fixed, this would allow claimants to go from part time to full time work without being ‘punished’. It seems to be one of those idea’s that will come eventually but no one will have thought of the problems until they occur .


    My current understanding is that we are going to have the direct payment part for social (not Council) housing possiblly from April 2009. Not necessarily the rest of the LHA conditions though. Not sure how I feel about this to be honest 😕


    Won’t it be fun if one part of the council sends out a payment (HB) and the next day the recipient has to call in to the payment office( probably in the same building) to pay the money back as council rent.OK, I hear you say that it will be all automatic with the HB payment going via BACS to claimants bank accounts and then standing orders sending it back to the council.

    Good business for the banks who will earn from the money while it passes through and bad for councils who will bear the extra administration costs, not to mention arrears control overheads, extra tellers to cope with those who can’t get the full bank account with standing order/direct debit facilities ( and basic bank accounts don’t currently offer those facilities).

    This is not just at the thinking stage, the Welfare Reform Bill actually contains a new power giving DWP the right to vary the way all HB is paid.
    And why stop at HB? Why not apply the same empowerment principle to Council Tax Benefit? And scrap PAYE and let every earner get their full gross wages and make their own arrangements to pay income tax.


    [quote:2fb7e191f0]This is not just at the thinking stage, the Welfare Reform Bill actually contains a new power giving DWP the right to vary the way all HB is paid.[/quote:2fb7e191f0]

    Unless I’m misreading things this isn’t correct. s37 of The Welfare Reform Act inserts some new text for s134(2) of the Administration Act . But it doesn’t repeal s134(1A) which says this:

    “Housing Benefit in respect of payments which the occupier of a dwelling is liable to make to a housing authority shall take the form of a rent rebate or, in prescribed cases, a rent allowance funded and administered by that authority. [b:2fb7e191f0]The cases that may be so prescribed do not include any where the payment is in respect of property within the authority’s Housing Revenue Account.[/b:2fb7e191f0]”


    I don’t think you are misreading it, Mark. Or at least I am reading it in the same way!!!
    Also, whilst Mr Field has experience and knowledge of the Social Security system, his thoughts are not at the heart of policy making for the government at present, and, although you never know, I cannot see them being for the near future. 8)

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