We welcome the Chancellors LHA announcement this week, and it will undoubtedly provide a lifeline to the sector – but taken alone, its not enough.
With over 104,000 households now living in temporary accommodation (a 25-year high), a lack of housebuilding, record levels of migration, and a hostile BTL tax regime, resulting in a huge outflow of private landlords, it is hard to see how one single policy will address this structural (and growing) social issue.
Supply into the sector is so acute, that a range of changes are needed to have meaningful impact.
Just some of which are noted here:
- Any future adjustments to the LHA should be taken independently and track annual private rental inflation; providing certainty and encouraging long term investment into the sector.
- Councils to be encouraged, indeed highly incentivised, through their LATCOs, to draw on PWLB to purchase and improve property for housing needs; this would significantly accelerate supply, improve standards, and providing a huge environmental boost, helping to meet future targets.
- Private landlords to be tax incentivised to use their properties for social and affordable housing purposes, with any property rented on a long term contract to a registered provider, local authority or LATCo, qualifying for tax reduction, and environmental improvement grants.
Whilst Councils grapple with fiscal tightening, complex planning policy and supply chain inflation, demand continues to accelerate and the problem starts to feel insurmountable.
Though no single policy or solution can create lasting structural change. The combination of LHA certainty, targetted borrowing, and public private partnership, all working together to increase long term supply, can have significant impact, supplimenting current housebuilding efforts.
Working alongside our public and private partners, we have safely invested over £325m into the sector and housed over 3,000 families since 2018. We are passionate about creating meaningful change, and welcome the opportunity to provide support and advice.
We call on the government for long term change, but until then, we continue to support our clients, finding creative and wide ranging solutions to this deep routed social problem.
John Lipper, Group Managing Director