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Local Housing Allowance – Government Consultation Document released

Well, well, well, looks like this gofmint is finally listening. Not a very strong point of theirs, one must admit. But, lets give them credit, at least in taking the first steps toward putting right, this travesty of a regulation.

The gofmint has now released a Consultation Document to look at how the LHA is being implemented, amongst other things. You can read or download the whole Consultation Document, just so you have something to look at later or use as firelighter when you get the bbq out next summer.

Let’s have a look at a few points made in the summary, shall we:
1. The Local Housing Allowance introduced last year has already brought in a fairer way of calculating Housing Benefit for tenants who live in private rented accommodation. Our objective was to reduce barriers to work by giving people more responsibility for their Housing Benefit payments and to provide a better service based on simpler rules.

Hmnn, yes its a fairer way to calculate entitlement, but this thing about giving people more responsibility for their housing payment, in reality, means giving them licence to steal from you and me as the benefit is not used for its intended purpose but for booze, fags, toys like 40inch LCD TVs and the latest gadgets.

2. The complex interaction with other benefits and weekly adjustments in payments for those who work variable hours can also reduce the incentives for work

you got that too right! b****y nightmare. I have a couple whose LHA has varied every single 4-week period due to the hubby working, that I just want to get rid and give myself some peace. Not their fault obviously, but its low paid work, benefit gone down from £94/wk to something like £30/wk, and they are getting further in arrears. Frankly, he’d be better off not working. But then he wants to work, and I support that.

3. The way in which rates are set has meant that customers in some areas have benefited more than others. In some areas, Housing Benefit can support customers to live in accommodation that many people in work cannot afford. This makes it harder for customers to come off Housing Benefit when they move into work. Furthermore, including high rents when setting Local Housing Allowance rates has driven up benefit levels and has contributed to the annual Housing Benefit budget rising more than it otherwise would have done

If the gofmint had thought it through, they would have seen it coming. We landlords knew that, but as they don’t consider us worthing of being listened to, they went ahead anyway. I told you so, dear gofmint!!

4. It also sets out our long-term aspiration to move towards greater integration of Housing Benefit into the wider tax and benefit regimes

oh dear! the system will become so complex, no one will be able to work it out properly – not even Gordon himself who is very clever at putting together indecipherable (at least to the common man) tax and benefit schemes. Means tested schemes where those who need it most, don’t get it and those who don’t need it get it, and then gofmint complains there’s pots of funds left unclaimed. You work that one out.

5.  More integrated benefit provision is not something we could introduce overnight. Change of this order will take time if it is not to involve unacceptable cost and be difficult to implement

The final caveat and “get-out” clause!! yes of course, dear gofmint, we understand perfectly. These things do take time, which you, thankfully-hopefully, do not have.

Fellow landlords who take LHA claimants, I hereby appeal to you, to ensure that you give the gofmint your views on this matter, tell them your experiences, good and bad so they get a balanced view, and hopefully, things will change for the better. I’m not holding my breath though!! ha!

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