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Housing benefit should be devolved across the UK

This news post is about 9 years old

​Left-leaning think tank calls for housing benefits to be devolved

A thinktank has published a report saying housing benefit policy would work better if devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The report, Poverty and Devolution published by the Institute for Public Policy Research, said different housing markets said “rent subsidy control would allow the administrations to determine problems and priorities that accord to their local circumstances, rather than policies set in Whitehall (such as the spare room subsidy) which appear to be of little relevance to housing markets in the devolved nations.”

The move could also stimulate the supply of affordable housing because devolved governments could target social housing investment to reduce housing benefit costs, stated the report.

It said: “Ultimately, any national strategy to increase the supply of affordable housing will be limited without stronger influence over how the core aspect of the revenue stream (housing benefit) is distributed.

“Leaving control at Westminster leaves the devolved nations reactive to Westminster changes, and inhibits long-term investment and planning in affordable housing supply.”

Other benefits could be devolved in a “safe and effective fashion”, to improve the devolved governments' ability to respond to local circumstances, adds the report.