Extreme housing benefit cuts hidden in the small-print of the Autumn Statement are set to force the closure of tens of thousands of supported homes for vulnerable and older people, which could affect 11,055 tenants across Cheshire.
Labour is holding an opposition day debate to call on the Government to urgently exempt supported housing from these housing benefit cuts and to consult fully with supported housing providers to safeguard this essential accommodation.
Examples of the kinds of housing that could be affected include sheltered accommodation for the elderly, homelessness hostels, specialist accommodation for former members of the armed forces and refuges for victims of domestic violence.
Combined, Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester housing associations provide 1037 supported housing units and 9748 sheltered housing units, meaning at least 11,055 tenants could find their homes come under threat of closure.
The latest figures suggest that nationally 82,000 specialist homes could become unviable, with a recent survey suggesting that 95% of supported housing organisations could have to close some accommodation.
George Osborne’s decision is already having an impact even before it comes into force, with the building of thousands of vital supported homes delayed or scrapped altogether.
John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Minister for Housing, said:
“The Tories’ extreme cuts to housing benefit, which they hid away in the small print of the Autumn Statement, could bankrupt vital housing for some of our most vulnerable people in Cheshire and across our country.
"This could be a catastrophe for those who can least afford it. There is no way these people or the organisations who support them can make up the yawning shortfall these cuts are set to open up."
“Labour is calling on the Tory Government to urgently exempt supported housing from their huge housing benefit cuts – a move that has been called for by housing associations, charities and councils from across the country.”