Welfare cuts see 85% fall in supported developments, National Housing Federation survey says

Plans to build thousands of new homes for some of Britain’s most vulnerable people have been slashed by 85 per cent due to welfare cuts, the National Housing Federation (NHF) has warned.

The steep decline in planned housing is the result of the government’s announcement last year that the housing benefits cap will apply to people in supported and sheltered housing, according to the NBF.

New research released by the housing body today revealed that - before the proposals were announced last September - housing associations were planning to build around 8,800 supported, sheltered, or extra care homes by 2021.

However, this figure now stands at approximately 1,350 – with many schemes cancelled or postponed.

The figures are based on a survey by NBF of 69 housing associations across England in May this year.

More than half of respondents (57 per cent) said that they have postponed or cancelled new developments, or have abandoned or plan to close existing schemes.

Uncertainty over the way in which future housing costs will be funded, and the withdrawal of government funding for support services, are cited by the NHF as key reasons for the cuts to planned housing.

David Orr, NHF chief executive, commented: “These findings really bring it home: changes to supported housing funding are stopping building for the most vulnerable.”

He called on the government to “put supported housing on a secure and sustainable footing”.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “We fully support and appreciate the valuable role supported accommodation plays in providing care in our local communities. Our new funding model will secure the future of supported accommodation and ensure help goes to those who need it the most. We have consulted fully on the new model and have been clear we will set out the next steps soon so that the supported housing sector has the certainty it needs to deliver in the future.”