What the new government means for you

money-purse1000x250Following the election of a new government in May, there are expected to be some new policies that might affect housing association tenants. We’ve put together a quick guide below to what the key policies will be, including what was announced in the July budget.

Right to Buy

The government is planning to extend the scheme to housing association tenants. This would enable some people living in housing association homes to buy their homes at a discount. It will be some time before a working scheme emerges and until then, we can’t say who might be eligible.

Working and child tax credits

From April 2017 earning thresholds for Working Tax Credit will be lowered from £6,420 to £3,850. New claimants of Child Tax Credit will only be able to claim for their first two children. Existing claimants won’t be affected unless their circumstances change and they need to submit a new claim.

Benefit cap

From April 2017 the benefit cap for couples, families and single parents will be reduced to £23,000 per year in London and £20,000 outside London. For single people the cap is reduced to £15,410 in London and £13,400 outside of London.

Housing Benefit

From April 2016 Housing Benefit claims will be backdated for a maximum of 4 weeks. This benefit will also be removed for 18 to 21-year-olds and replaced with a ‘youth obligation’ for six months. During this time, the claimant needs to secure work, go on a apprenticeship or training programme or find a work placement.

Stay and pay

Social housing tenants with individual or household incomes of over £40,000 in London and over £30,000 outside of London will move to a market or sub-market rent, which is likely to be significantly higher than social rent.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit will continue to be rolled out to single and recently unemployed claimants, followed by couples and families.

Employment and support allowance

This is being reduced and kept in line with the rate paid for job seekers allowance.

Minimum wage

For over 25’s it will rise to £7.20 per hour in 2016 and reach £9 by 2020.

Free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds

This will be doubled from 15 to 30 hours per week from April 2017/18.

Discretionary housing payments

The government has confirmed that these are likely to continue for the next five years. The budget will rise from £140 million to £150 million in April 2016, reach £185 million in April 2017 and fall back to the current level thereafter.

More information

Visit the benefit changes section of our website.