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Stonewater’s response to the Autumn Statement

Following today’s announcement, Stonewater’s Nicholas Harris has provided comment on the following topics.
Nicholas Harris reacts to new housing minister

On the announcement of a cap of 7% on social housing rent increases for 2023/24, Nicholas said:

“The Government’s decision to cap the social housing rent increase at 7% in England acknowledges the significant role the sector plays in providing vital affordable housing and services, and shields customers from an unthinkable 11.1% rent increase and the burden of those higher payments during the cost-of-living crisis.

“Had a reduced increase been announced, it would likely have had a detrimental impact on service quality and may have weakened the sector at a time when the provision of additional affordable housing is vital.”

“The decision to cap rents for one year, rather than two years, allows us to respond to a changing economic climate and protect the services and programmes we offer to customers, who are at the heart of everything we do.

“We will continue to work with the Government on the implementation of today’s announcement, particularly in terms of customer impacts, longer-term planning and our shared commitment to net zero targets and sustainability.”

On the announcement benefits will be uprated in line with UK inflation, Nicholas said:

“It is extremely welcome news that the Government has decided to honour the increase in Universal Credit and other benefits in line with inflation. At a time of great concern for those most affected by the current cost of living crisis – which includes many of our customers – it is one less thing to worry about knowing monthly rent payments will continue to be covered by benefits.”

On the announcement investment zones will be reviewed, Nicholas said:

“I was encouraged by the previously announced plans for relaxed planning and tax incentive schemes within investment zones. However, at the time I called for the initiative to be accessible to the whole country, to avoid a postcode lottery and ensure homes were built for people who need them, where they need them most.

“I would again ask the Government to be mindful of the need for support across the country while reviewing the scheme.”

On the announcement of a new Energy Efficiency Taskforce, Nicholas said:

“As one of the UK’s leading social housing providers, we are committed to doing all we can to minimise our impact on the environment and promote sustainability, which includes improving the energy efficiency of our existing homes. We welcome the announcement of a new Energy Efficiency Taskforce and increased funding, as currently energy prices are skyrocketing and improving the energy efficiency of homes is paramount.”

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