Mark and his family will likely be feeling disappointed after the budget. Funding for the building of 9,000 social homes is a welcome development and accessing a social home is what Mark would like for himself and his family. It would ensure Mark’s income is not taken up with high rental payments every month. However, it will be some time before those homes are built, and given the level of demand for affordable housing, it is not certain Mark would be allocated a social house in 2022. Also, the announcement of 9,000 social homes is a decrease of approximately 500 houses on Budget 2021. Providing additional funding for the building of 15,000 social homes would have reflected the true level of need.
Although Mark will benefit from the increase in the minimum wage of 30c per hour and the increase in the threshold for the Working Family Payment, there were no immediate measures introduced that can make Mark’s rent more affordable or support him financially to make monthly rent repayments. Increasing HAP limits so that they are kept in line with market rents would have really helped Mark and his family.
There were also no support or funding provided to ensure his private rented apartment could be more energy efficient and warmer, which would reduce his energy bills and provide comfort for the family. SVP had recommended an extension of the Warmer Homes Scheme on a pilot basis to those in receipt of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), conditional on the landlord providing a longer-term lease. Extending the Fuel Allowance to those in receipt of the Working Family Payment would also have helped Mark and his family with their immediate energy costs.