[Updated 15 March, see below]
Joe Halewood, who runs a fine blog on supported housing at SPeye, has unearthed a rather alarming statement from the DWP buried in the impact assessment on under occupation changes to HB for social housing from October 2011. The passage (at para 5) reads:
“From 1 April 2013 it is intended to introduce size criteria for new and existing working-age Housing Benefit claimants living in the social rented sector. The size criteria will replicate the size criteria that apply to Housing Benefit claimants in the private rented sector and whose claims are assessed using the local housing allowance rules”
The implication is that this would include the shared accommodation/single room limit for single under 35s being applied to social housing. Joe has sought clarification from the DWP and we understand that Inside Housing may have as well, but so far, nothing from the DWP.
Does anyone know anything more about this? The effects could clearly be drastic. And does the DCLG know about this?
[Update 15 March 2012. The position of CIH on this is that the regulations, currently being drafted, have the effect that the power is to make a deduction based on the number of people in relation to the number of bedrooms. Under this method there cannot be anything smaller than one bedroom. We understand that the CIH are involved in the drafting process.
However, this doesn’t explain the use of the word “replicate” in the DWP Impact Assessment. While it appears unlikely that the forthcoming property size regulations will have the effect on the under 35s feared, it would be good to have clarification from the DWP.]