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Social Housing and Worklessness Camellia Raha. Overview 1.Backgroundto research 2.Main research objective 3.Main findings and Policy implications:  Social.

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Presentation on theme: "Social Housing and Worklessness Camellia Raha. Overview 1.Backgroundto research 2.Main research objective 3.Main findings and Policy implications:  Social."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Housing and Worklessness Camellia Raha

2 Overview 1.Backgroundto research 2.Main research objective 3.Main findings and Policy implications:  Social Housing as a work incentive  Geography  Mobility  Tax and benefits  Further barriers to work

3 Background to CRESR research  In 2007 DWP & CLG commissioned CRESR (Sheffield Hallam University) to undertake the study.  Research approach:  review of relevant literature and secondary data  in-depth, qualitative interviews:  107 social tenants with a recent/ongoing experience of worklessness (living in concentrated and pepper-potted areas of social housing in four local authority districts Derby, Islington, Peterborough and Sheffield)  30 people with a recent or ongoing experience of worklessness living in the private rented sector.

4 Research Objective Explain the relatively high levels of worklessness apparent within the social rented sector

5 Social Housing as a Work Incentive – Findings  A social tenancy is a work incentive - Significant work incentives were associated with being a social tenant. Respondents referred to:  sub-market rents,  the sympathetic and flexible attitude of social landlords, and  the stability provided by the tenure.

6 Social Housing as a Work Incentive – Policy implications  Sub-market rents represent a work incentive, as does the security of tenure provided by the sector, but social housing system is not run in a way that seeks to maximise this potential.

7 Geography - Findings  No consistent evidence of 'cultures of worklessness'. Experiences of work and worklessness are highly variable. Economic marginality and poverty are common to all.  Area effects are more evident in a relatively stable, large estates, with a distinct identity, where residents have long-standing links and are keen to remain.

8 Geography – Policy implications  promoting social mix is unlikely to have a substantial impact on worklessness on its own

9 Mobility - Findings  Perception that moving would not give access to more job opportunities  The costs assumed to be associated with a move for work related reasons (severing of social ties and loss of key resources) were reported to outweigh the benefits (low paid, insecure work)

10 Mobility – Policy implications  Restricted opportunities for mobility in social housing are not a key barrier to work and are unlikely to account for high levels of worklessness within the sector.

11 Tax and Benefits - Findings  The complexity of the tax and benefit system may act as a work disincentive.  It was clear that many had not got to grips with the complex interaction between earnings, tax credits and housing benefit.  Groups most distant from the labour market contrast insecurity of available labour market opportunities with the stability of benefit. 'At least with benefit you know what's coming in each week'.

12 Tax and Benefits – Policy implications  Supports the case for moving to a single system of working age benefits, ideally a single benefit.  Reform must take into account:  better off assessments made in relation to household unit  attitudes to paid work not just governed by economic rationality ('good parent')  many too distant from labour market for clearer messages about why work pays to have any impact

13 Further Barriers to Work - Findings 6 additional factors detected:  6 particular characteristics were found to inform the weak competitive position of many social tenants in the labour market:  health issues,  child care responsibilities,  debt,  drug and alcohol dependence,  criminal records and  multiple disadvantages.

14 Further Barriers to Work – policy implications  The research points to the importance of promoting integrated service provision in order to support people into work.  The range of services included in the provision of such support will need to include health and social care, childcare providers, financial and benefit advice services, and offender support and probation services.

15 Broad conclusions Role of HB is very important –respondents’ concerns about meeting housing costs if they take a job Extent of multiple disadvantage suggests that significant gains might be accrued from greater integration of support services Being a social tenant can represent a work related incentive PSA groups are disproportionately represented in the SRS and tend to have lower employment rates than any other tenure group. Although processing of HB has improved over recent years – perception of improvement is not getting through

16 Further reading  Social housing and worklessness: Key policy messages (published May 2008, DWP website): bstracts/rra_482.asp bstracts/rra_482.asp  Social housing and worklessness: main qualitative findings published August 2008 (DWP website): 2008/rrep521.pdf 2008/rrep521.pdf


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