Housing Benefit:

National Housing Federation (NHF) Chief Executive, David Orr, claims that Tory cuts to affordable homes are responsible for the UK housing crisis, but this is refuted by the Residential Landlords Association.

The NHF, which opens its annual conference next Tuesday, says that a massive reduction in Government grants to social landlords has been identified as the primary cause for the deep fall in the construction of social housing over the past seven year.

Mr Orr claims that this massive reduction in government grants to social landlords is the primary cause for the deep fall in the construction of social housing over the past seven years.

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According to the NHF, in 2016, just 37,985 “affordable” homes were built in total, almost a third lower than the 53,917 constructed in 2009.

Mr Orr told the Independent newspaper he estimates that around £9bn in public money is going each year in housing benefit to private sector landlords, almost double the amount of 10 years ago.

“That money is not being used to build new homes. It’s dead money from the state’s point of view”, he says. When housing associations make any kind of profit they use it to build new homes,” Mr Or said.

However, in a press release from the Residential Landlords Association Tuesday 19th, its Policy Director, David Smith refutes these claims by the NHF.

Mr Smith says that private landlords are now “filling the gaps” left by the social housing sector.

Responding to the call by David Orr, to divert money from housing benefit paid to tenants in the private rented sector to social housing providers, David Smith, said:

“The private rented sector plays an increasingly important role in housing some of the poorest and most vulnerable tenants, many of whom have already been let down by social housing providers.  Local authorities are now dependent on the PRS to meet their homelessness obligations.

“It is also wrong to claim that private landlords do not invest in new housing.  Off-plan purchases by private landlords are key to unlocking new developments, providing badly needed finance for new homes, up-front.

“The RLA has long argued that we need more homes to be built, across all tenures, but recent government policies have stalled the housing market.  Instead of seeking to split the housing sector, the NHF should be working in partnership across the housing sector, to press the Government to adopt investment-friendly policies that will kick-start housing growth.”

The RLA represents over 50,000 private sector residential landlords in England and Wales.



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