Eddie Hughes – 2022 Housing Update Statement

The statement made by Eddie Hughes, the Minister for Housing, in the House of Commons on 17 March 2022.

Supported housing plays a vital role in delivering better life outcomes and improved wellbeing and health for many vulnerable people.

The Government are committed to ensuring that supported housing is good quality and meets the needs of its residents. In recognition of its importance, the Government are investing £11.5 billion in much needed supply through the affordable homes programme, which includes delivery of new supported housing for older, disabled and other vulnerable people.

However, we are aware of a minority of landlords who charge high rents for poor quality accommodation and little or no support.

I wish to inform the House of the Government’s intention to bring forward measures to put an end to unscrupulous landlords exploiting some of the most vulnerable in our society.

We have no intention of penalising those providers who operate responsibly. We are clear that measures must be as targeted and proportionate as possible to protect supply of housing across the board.

Our intention is to take forward a package of measures that will include:

Minimum standards for the support provided to residents to ensure residents receive the good quality support they expect and deserve in order to live as independently as possible and achieve their personal goals;

New powers for local authorities in England to better manage their local supported housing market and ensure that rogue landlords cannot exploit the system to the detriment of vulnerable residents and at the expense of taxpayers; and

Changes to housing benefit regulations to seek to define care, support and supervision to improve quality and value for money across all specified supported housing provision.

We will introduce any measures requiring legislation when parliamentary time allows.

We will work closely with local government, sector representatives, providers and people with experience of supported housing as we develop these measures to ensure they are fit for purpose, deliverable and minimise unintended consequences for the providers of much needed, good quality supported housing.

Alongside these proposed measures, today I am announcing that we will provide £20 million for a supported housing improvement programme. Funding for this three-year programme will be open to bids from all local authorities and build on the clear successes of the supported housing pilots. The pilot authorities were able to drive up the quality of accommodation and support to residents. They also improved value for money through enhanced scrutiny of housing benefit claims to verify that costs were legitimate and reasonable.

The supported housing improvement programme will be vital to drive up quality in the sector in some of the worst affected areas immediately, while the Government develop and implement longer-term regulatory changes. The bidding prospectus for the programme will be published in due course.

This package of proposed measures will tackle poor quality and poor value for money in supported housing and improve outcomes for individuals, while preserving good quality provision run by responsible providers.