Spending review draws a blank for landlords
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid revealed the Government’s spending plans for 2020 to 2021 which included a loosening of the purse strings, as he claimed to be ‘turning the page’ on austerity.
The headline funding pledges related to real term increases to departmental spending and there were spending commitments announced for public services, schools, social care and defence. The Chancellor claimed the end of austerity was signalled by the lack of cuts to departmental budgets, whilst reaffirming that the government deficit would remain below two percent of GDP.
The main references to the private rented sector (PRS) related to £40 million additional funding for Discretionary Housing Payments. These are funds which local authorities can use to help tenants meet their rent payments, and can be used to top up benefit payments, particularly where Local Housing Allowance doesn’t meet market rents. He also announced an additional £54 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.
There was a 4.9 percent increase to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) budget, but no explicit mentions were given to the funding for the courts system – and many commentators have seen this as tiny concession when there have been nearly 40 percent cuts to the MoJ budget since 2010.
The silence on the PRS may be indicative of the need to focus on the task at hand in dealing with the Brexit issue. However, if the country does go to the polls, voters will want answers about how the Government intends to manage England’s second largest housing tenure.
What you can do
More details on the spending review can be found here. Landlords are encouraged to push the Government on court funding as they lobby their MPs about the abolition of Section 21. Guidance on lobbying your MP can be found here.