SFHA: Poverty should be top of agenda for new UK government

The new UK government must urgently tackle issues that are pushing an increasing number of tenants into poverty such as high energy prices and Universal Credit, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has said.

SFHA: Poverty should be top of agenda for new UK government

Following last week’s General Election, SFHA has also said the government must ensure that labour supply can continue to be delivered where it is needed.

The membership body is calling on the UK government to commit to delivering three key asks:

  • Improve Universal Credit system for tenants and housing associations

Together with the other three UK housing federations, SFHA is calling for reforms to Universal Credit so that the system can function in a fair and efficient way for claimants and social landlords. At present, the policy is pushing many people into poverty, and SFHA wants the UK government to commit to ending the five-week wait for payment.

  • Work with housing associations to fight climate change

Housing associations are contributing to the fight against climate change by meeting strict energy efficiency targets set by the Scottish Government. Despite this, their tenants are more likely to be in fuel poverty. Housing associations have the potential to do more with further support.

SFHA is calling on the UK government to make warm, energy-efficient homes a priority by reducing the cost of energy and investing in remote/island rural communities which incur higher costs and supporting micro-renewables schemes that can provide low carbon energy.

  • An immigration system that ensures labour supply continues

From housebuilders to care givers, it is vital that enough workers are available to meet the needs of housing associations, regardless of the final outcome of Brexit. SFHA is calling on the UK government to commit to ensuring that the UK’s immigration system can continue to deliver labour supply where it is needed.

SFHA chief executive Sally Thomas said: “Everyone in Scotland deserves a safe, warm, energy-efficient affordable home. The Universal Credit system is still not fit for purpose – it continues to push too many people into poverty. Fixing the system, particularly ending the five-week wait for payment, must be a priority for the new UK government.

“Despite housing associations having to meet strict energy efficiency targets, their tenants are experiencing increasing levels of fuel poverty. The new UK government must take steps to address energy pricing so that tenants can afford to heat their homes.”

Ms Thomas added: “We are also asking that the Government makes sure labour supply is delivered where it is needed in the housing sector – whether this is building affordable homes or delivering services.”

Share icon
Share this article: