Consultation over the Government’s plans for change to the way poor and disadvantaged people receive help with housing has shown concern that a lack of funding could jeopardise what is otherwise, a well-supported concept.The DETR has published research which pulls together key findings from the consultation, and which will inform the Government’s already-announced intention to scrap Housing Benefit and replace it with the new ‘Supporting People’ scheme by 2003.
The key proposals of ‘Supporting People’ are to pull together various funding streams for housing benefits into a single budget, allocated at local authority discretion to a wide range of vulnerable people.
The proposals were developed by an inter-departmental group which, as well as the DETR, included the health and social security departments, Welsh and Scottish offices, plus the Home Office and the Treasury.
Eighty two per cent of respondents – including local authorities, social services providers, landlords and charities – were generally in favour of ‘Supporting People’. Forty percent had reservations that resources would be spread much more thinly across larger numbers of people. The next biggest worry was whether joint working and inter-agency co-operation was at the sufficiently advanced level assumed by the proposals. Concern was also raised that health authorities did not have a bigger role.