Despite all the wealth and opportunity London has to offer, the capital has one of the lowest employment rates in the UK. This report identifies the pressures that keep social tenants from work, and offers recommendations as to how they could be encouraged and supported into employment.
Unemployment and worklessness are particularly high among the quarter of Londoners who live in council or housing association homes. London’s housing and labour markets have some unique characteristics which set them apart from the rest of Britain. This is both a real challenge and also an opportunity which demands some hard, imaginative and brave thinking about ways to sustain services on reduced budgets.
This report begins by offering the first detailed picture of worklessness among London’s social tenants. It then goes on to ask, why are so many not working and what can be done to support and encourage more into work?
With social housing policy undergoing the profoundest transformation in generations, Home-work represents an important and timely contribution to a vital debate.
- Social landlords should ensure that all employment services have clear objectives, are founded on a robust analysis of costs, benefits and risks, and are properly managed and evaluated.
- The government should introduce legislation allowing social landlords to vary social rents in line with earnings up to a level just below market rent, and explore ways of granting social landlords access to the household financial information needed if this policy is to work.
- Social landlords should adopt a progressive rent policy, with households on above average incomes paying incrementally more until, on higher incomes, they pay just below market rent.
- The government and social landlords should further explore ways in which social landlords could help tenants manage the risks associated with leaving benefits and entering employment. In particular they should consider whether a portion of a new progressive rent paid by working tenants could be placed in an ‘emergency’ account on which these tenants could draw should they cease working or experience a fall in pay.
- Rather than face the possibility of losing their tenancies, higher earning social tenants should be guaranteed the right to stay in their home at a near market rent, or, alternatively, buy their home.
- Social landlords should explore ways of helping their tenants who are parents and are looking for work or are in work find affordable and flexible childcare.