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25 November 2015

CHC comments on Chancellor's Autumn Statement & Spending Review

Following today’s Autumn Statement and Comprehensive Spending Review announced by George Osborne, the following top line changes have been confirmed:

- Bringing Housing Benefit in line with Local Housing Allowance for new tenants (implemented from April 2018 for those that have become new tenants since April 2016)
- U-turn on increasing the taper rate and reducing the income threshold for tax credits
- Introduction of a Barnett funding floor for Wales
- A significant house building programme in England

Stuart Ropke, Group Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru, commented: ‘A significant increase in the English housing budget has been announced today by George Osborne. Extra capital of £900m for Wales will be made available over the next 5 years, and we call on Welsh Government to invest a significant proportion of this capital in Welsh housing. Continued investment alongside a secure income stream through rent will enable housing associations in Wales to deliver 12,500 homes in the next Assembly term, which is an increase of 25% on the current target.

We do need to focus on different priorities in Wales – not just on home ownership. It’s essential that Welsh Government supports the delivery of housing across all tenures, including social housing, to deliver an effective housing market.

Although we welcome the Chancellor’s U-turn on tax credits, all this will do in the long term is delay cuts until the full introduction of Universal Credit. We are especially concerned about the impact of aligning Housing Benefit with Local Housing Allowance for new social housing tenants. Capping the rent at shared accommodation rate for under 35s will have a significant impact on single young people without children who require access to supported or social housing.

We will continue to work with Welsh Government ahead of the Welsh Draft Budget announcement on 8th December.'

A full briefing will be available for members in due course.