- Computer Science - Aug 24 Structural, regulatory and human error were factors in Washington highway bridge collapse
- Civil Engineering - Aug 8 Former Philadelphia mayor joins UChicago Urban Labs in new role
- Civil Engineering - Jul 5 Cities of tomorrow
- Civil Engineering - Jun 30 Living on the edge: succeeding in the slums
- Architecture - Jun 24 UCLA architect Greg Lynn reenvisions site of abandoned factory in Detroit
- Civil Engineering - Jun 23 Would you live in a city made of bone?
- Civil Engineering - Jun 17 Book chronicles rise of urban planning in ancient Egypt
- Civil Engineering - Jun 3 Finding connections to nature in cities is key to healthy urban living
- Civil Engineering - May 31 Live from the Hive: world’s first live tweeting honeybees in Bristol project
- Civil Engineering - May 25 Mellon seminar tours a changing, urbanized Amazon
- Civil Engineering - May 25 Finding a new formula for concrete
- Architecture - May 24 U-M to represent US, Detroit at Venice Biennale, world’s top architecture show
- Civil Engineering - May 23 Researchers stress role of subsidized housing in easing affordability crisis
- Civil Engineering - May 17 International workshop reveals shared urban challenges
- Civil Engineering - May 17 New model from Masdar Institute- MIT collaboration to support a cooler, more sustainable Abu Dhabi
- Civil Engineering - May 5 Deaths
Benefit changes raise pressure on country life
Significant numbers of social tenants in rural areas may have to move away from their friends and communities because of changes to housing benefit criteria, a report reveals today.
There is a real danger that rural communities will be less sustainable and less able to support jobs and services"—Martin Shucksmith, Commission for Rural Communities
The study, published by the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC), says that people in rural districts who rent their homes from the local authority or housing associations may be forced away by a number of changes to the way in which benefit is allocated.
In particular, it says that the 2012 Welfare Reform Act, which comes into force next year, has exposed a shortage of smaller properties in rural areas while at the same time cutting benefits from working age social tenants if they are unable to move to smaller homes.
It warns that vulnerable and younger people may be forced to move away from these settlements, even though the provision of affordable rural housing is critical to ensure that young people growing up in rural areas are able to remain in their communities.
The report, Rural Housing at a time of economic change, was produced by the Centre for Housing and Planning Research at the University of Cambridge on behalf of the CRC. It is being made available for free download at www.defra.gov.uk/crc/
Anna Clarke, the lead researcher, said: "The changing benefit criteria are likely to lead to increased demand for smaller social rented properties in rural areas. We also found problems with housing quality and fuel poverty in rural areas, and concern over the affordability of the new ’Affordable Rent’ product, which is largely replacing the construction of new social housing."
CRC Commissioner, Professor Martin Shucksmith, said: "Changes to benefit eligibility sometimes have unintended consequences. The Commission is concerned that these changes will affect vulnerable people in rural areas in ways that have not been anticipated and will lead younger people to move out of small rural settlements."
"Other people, too, may lose benefit unless they move to smaller homes - perhaps away from their friends and communities. There is a real danger that such places will be less sustainable and less able to support jobs and services."
One of the main findings in the report concerns the stipulation within the 2012 Welfare Reform Act that, from April 2013, social housing tenants of working age will only be able to claim housing benefit for the size of property they are deemed to need. Those considered to be "under-occupying" their home will be subject to a reduction of 14% of their benefit if they have one spare room, and 25% if they have two or more, forcing them to search for smaller accommodation.
But the researchers found that in rural areas, not enough smaller accommodation exists. This may force people to choose between losing benefit, or moving away from their friends and communities, often to urban areas where such properties are more common.
In addition, a higher proportion of households underoccupy in rural districts, partly because social landlords often house small or young families in larger accommodation, so that if their family grows they do not have to move on.
Now it seems that many may have to do so anyway. The report points out that there is an "acute shortage" of one-bedroomed properties nationally, but that it is worst rural areas, which typically have fewer flats. The scarcity of such property means that many social tenants could be uprooted.
The study also found that homes in rural areas are substantially more likely to fail to meet the decent home standard, especially in the private rented sector. They also have much higher rates of thermal inefficiency, with 56% of private rented homes in hamlets or isolated dwellings falling into the lowest category under the Standard Assessment Procedure - the Government measure used to assess the energy ratings of dwellings. "With rising fuel prices and falling incomes and benefit levels, this raises real concerns over fuel poverty," the report adds.
Rural housing is already under considerable strain. According to recent estimates by the CRC, the population of rural areas is growing faster than urban. The ONS predicts that the rural population will increase by 16% by 2028, compared with a 9% increase in urban areas.
At the same time, affordable housing in rural districts is hard to come by. Rural England has, over the last 30 years, seen the steepest decline in the stock of social rented homes. In 1980, 25% of the housing stock in rural areas was social housing compared with 36% in urban areas. By 2007, those figures had decline to 13% and 21% respectively. The gap between average rural house prices and cheaper, urban homes is also widening.
The findings of the report will be circulated to key Government agencies including the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Full details can be downloaded from the CRC website: www.defra.gov.uk/crc/
Last job offers
- Administration/Government - 18.8
Wissenschaftliche/r Mitarbeiter/in 80-100%
- Civil Engineering - 18.8
Faculty Position in Transportation Systems
- Earth Sciences - 10.8
- Medicine/Pharmacology - 24.8
Research Fellow / Fellow
- Chemistry - 22.8
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
- Business/Economics - 31.8
Professur für Finanzwirtschaft
- Administration/Government - 31.8
Six (6) ZIF Marie Curie 5-year Research Fellowships, and, four (4) Zukunftskolleg Research Fellowships,...
- Religions - 16.8
Vier Positionen für NachwuchsforscherInnen (Postdocs)
- Business/Economics - 26.7
Verwaltungsprofessur "Logistik und Supply Chain Management"
- Administration/Government - 23.8
Terahertz Circuit Designer / Research Fellow - 55892
- Computer Science/Telecom - 22.8
Research Associate in Agent-based Network Modelling
- Medicine/Pharmacology - 23.8
Tenure Track Faculty Position - Health Services
- Psychology - 22.8
Assistant or Associate Clinical Professor