2015 Autumn Spending Review joint statement by Welsh Tenants and TPAS Cymru

The big story of the Autumn Spending Review, was undoubtedly the climb down by the Chancellor on the withdrawal of Tax Credits that would have taken £4bn from working families or £1.46bn in Wales each year. While many anti austerity supporters are presenting this as a victory for common sense! one has to ask, where was the ‘sense in common’ in the first place.

But before the 238,000 families who receive Tax Credits in Wales begin smarting over the abandonment of the ‘tactic’, we must remember that the policy of radical welfare reform remains.

The UK Government still intends to reduce welfare spending by £12bn by the end of the parliament. So the primary tactic of using Universal Credit as a means to reduce welfare support suggests that people who have limited options to supplement their income will still be hit hard across Wales.

We must not forget that the decision to restrict child tax credits to the first two children in a family and the amount by which a claimant’s income can increase each year before their tax credits are cut – will remain. That threshold will still be reduced from £5,000 to £2,500. Of course the bedroom tax still exists with no announcements to alleviate the impacts on disabled and vulnerable people.

So why has the chancellor relented on Tax Credits?

The chancellor has been able to hold back on the full planned cuts because the Office of Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) amended forecast provided some additional growth and tax receipts between July and October which amounted to £27bn. This meant he had some breathing space so as not introduce Tax Credit cuts. The spending review still amounted to some £19bn of cuts leaving a £4bn headroom in case the OBR forecast is not as generous as anticipated.

The combined reduction in public spending means that the size of state support has been reduced from 50% as a proportion of GDP in 2010 to some 36.5% by the end of the term of the current parliament, a huge reduction, and a huge reliance on private sector and local authorities to pick up the impacts.

Some of the other headline announcements

A Focus on home ownership

  • The pre-occupation of home ownership as an aspiration for everyone is clearly evident (like it or not). England’s housing budget is set to double from £1bn to £2bn however, most of this is to focus on increasing access to owner occupation including shared ownership schemes and an enhanced Help to Buy for London. Clearly the government is no longer supporting social housing as a concept.
  • The government also announced a commitment to a ‘build to buy’ initiative to encourage big developers with funding to provide 400,000 homes by 2020. The measures include 200,000 ‘new’ starter homes with a 20% discount on for first-time buyers under 40, as well as 135,000 Help to Buy shared ownership homes.
  • While the majority of political parties in Wales are committed to repealing Right To Buy (RTB), as expected, it is to be extended to housing associations in England. From midnight on the 25th November, five housing associations are to be piloted on the new HARTB, these include: London & Quadrant, Sovereign, Riverside, Saffron Housing & Thames Valley.

With regard Right to Buy in Social Housing , Welsh Tenants and TPAS Cymru are united in their opposition to this policy. We believe is harmful to the aims of tackling the Welsh Housing crisis.

We are also concerned that large incentives to big developers can result in over development of communities without suitable infrastructure and the building of larger homes for profit not for community needs. Local Authority development plans and community needs must be respected in building suitable homes.

Adult Social Care

  • Earlier in the year, the Care Sector were warning of a catastrophic impact for care providers and local authorities as the primary purchases who commission adult care services, with a pending crisis in home care due to the introduction of the Living wage variant to be introduced in April 2016. The response appears to be to dump the liability on local authority council tax payers by varying the Council Tax Cap.
  • While the Council Tax Cap, which applies to all local authorities in England and Wales will remain, they will be able to levy a 2% increase to be spent on ‘Adult Social Care’ to offset the crisis.
  • According to the chancellor, this measure if fully utilised, will provide £2bn of additional funding providing support for 50,000 older people in care homes or 200,000 in home care support.

Private rented sector and Buy-To-Let

  • The Chancellor raised ‘Stamp Duty’ lifting each band by 3%. That means that for properties worth between £125,000 and £250,000, where the stamp duty is 2%, buy-to-let landlords will pay 5%. The average BTL purchase in England of £184,000, will pay an extra £5,520 from April 2016 and undoubtedly force rents up as they seek to recover these early costs. The scheme will also apply to second home purchases, such as holiday homes. The scheme will raise £1bn by 2020 of which up to £60m annually raised from the surcharge will be spent on places where holiday homes have forced up prices.
  • The measure follows from the July budget announcement to reduce landlords’ ability to offset mortgage interest costs against rental income. Many PRS representatives have commented that the July change will be phased in between 2017 and 2020 is expected to reduce the yields available on investment properties and make many existing buy-to-lets unprofitable, this will further exacerbate the lot of small private landlords.
  • However the scheme may provide a further incentive to Commercial property investors, with more than 15 properties, who are expected to be exempt from the new charges. The sector in Wales has a high proportion of landlords with small portfolios, these additional tax burdens as well as the Wales registration and licencing scheme could have significant impacts on the sector with knock on consequences for renters.

CAP on Social Housing

  • One of the announcements that didn’t get much attention is that Housing Benefit is to be capped to private rented sector Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates for new social housing tenants to bring this into line with the Private Rented Sector LHA CAP.
  • Housing benefits and pension credit payments will also be stopped for people who leave the country for more than one month, no doubt people who take extended visits abroad for religious or family reasons will be concerned.

For Pensioners

  • Wales has a larger percentage of elderly people as a proportion of the population. The pre-announced decision in April to raise the basic state pension by 2.9% means pensioners will receive a new total of £119.30 per week from April 2016. However, state pension is based on the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rate of inflation, currently negative at -0.1%. This means that pensions will rise by around 5p per week in 2016.

On Wales

  • The government is to introduce a floor in the level of relative funding provided to the Welsh Government at 115% of comparable spending per head in England, given the significant impact that tax devolution could have on Wales funding, the floor will be reset at the next Spending Review.
  • The government will also legislate to remove the requirement for the Welsh Assembly to hold a referendum in order to implement the Welsh Rates of Income Tax.
  • The Blue book states that the Spending Review delivers significant real-terms increases to Welsh Government capital budgets. Funding available for infrastructure investment via the block grant through to 2020-21 will rise by 16%, meaning over £900 million more than if it had been held at 2015-16 levels.
  • The Blue book also states the government is working with the Cardiff Capital Region and the Welsh Government to deliver an ambitious City Deal for Cardiff with an in principle commitment to contribute to an infrastructure fund for the Cardiff region.
  • The government is also investing in projects like the new, modern prison in Wrexham, a £212 million investment which will create 1,000 jobs.

Both Welsh Tenants and TPAS Cymru are concerned at the continued emphasis of hitting the most vulnerable in our society through the UK Governments austerity programme. A failure to invest significantly in social housing means that those on joint average incomes of less than £27,000 will continue to struggle over the next five years particularly as Universal Credit rolls out and the welfare caps takes hold.

Whilst the funding floor is an improvement it continues to see Wales locked into the discredited Barnet Formula which doesn’t provide fair funding for Wales and maintains Wales as the poor relation of the UK. The Chancellor also confirms Northern Ireland will get corporation tax powers but Wales will not. If Wales is to tackle the social inequality that exists then it needs the full range of fiscal tools that other parts of the UK has.

We are under no illusion that the emphasis on owner occupation will remain a key driver over the next five years. While that is good for above average earners in Wales that can afford a deposit, we also need to place significant emphasis on providing below market rented housing to accommodate the vulnerable and low waged.

The Welsh Government will also need to assess carefully the impacts a range of tax measures are having on the private rented sector if it is to continue rely on PRS to meet the accommodation needs of low income families. PRS will become more fragmented as some take advantage of growth to escape some of the tax implications and others decide to sell up and give notice to their tenants. A comprehensive rescue plan may be required for those landlords who decide the later.

Statement agreed by Welsh Tenants and TPAS Cymru.

Some useful links

Link to full Autumn Statement and Spending Review documents via HM Treasury https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/479749/52229_Blue_Book_PU1865_Web_Accessible.pdf

Special report: Full in-depth coverage of the Spending Review and Autumn Statement http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34908612

Adolygiad o Wariant Hydref 2015

Yn ddiamau, mae’r stori fawr ar yr Adolygiad ar Wariant yr Hydref, yn ddringfa lawr gan y Canghellor ynghylch rhoi’r gorau i Gredydau Treth a fyddai wedi cymryd £4 biliwn gan deuluoedd sy’n gweithio, neu £1.46bn yng Nghymru bob blwyddyn. Er bod llawer o gefnogwyr gwrth lymder yn ei gyflwyno fel buddugoliaeth ‘synnwyr cyffredin’, mae’n rhai yn gofyn, lle’r oedd y ‘synnwyr cyffredin’ yn y lle cyntaf?!

Ond cyn i’r 238,000 o deuluoedd sy’n derbyn Credydau Treth yng Nghymru ddechrau craffu dros roi’r gorau i’r ‘dacteg’, rhaid inni gofio bod y polisi o ddiwygio lles radicalaidd yn ymaros.

Mae Llywodraeth y DU dal yn bwriadu lleihau gwariant lles gan £12bn erbyn diwedd y senedd. Felly mae’r dacteg sylfaenol o ddefnyddio Credyd Cynhwysol fel modd i leihau cymorth lles, yn awgrymu y bydd pobl sydd ag opsiynau cyfyngedig i ychwanegu at eu hincwm, yn dal i gael eu taro’n galed ar draws Cymru.

Rhaid i ni beidio ag anghofio bod y penderfyniad i gyfyngu credydau treth plant i’r ddau blentyn cyntaf mewn teulu, a’r swm y gall incwm yr hawlydd gynyddu bob blwyddyn cyn bod eu credydau treth yn cael eu torri, yn ymaros. Bydd y trothwy hwnnw dal yn cael ei ostwng o £5,000 i £2,500. Wrth gwrs, mae’r dreth ystafell wely yn dal i fodoli heb unrhyw gyhoeddiadau i liniaru’r effeithiau ar bobl anabl a phobl sy’n agored i niwed.

Felly pam y mae’r canghellor wedi ildio ar Gredydau Treth?

Mae’r canghellor wedi gallu dal yn ôl ar y toriadau llawn a gynlluniwyd gan fod rhagolygon diwygiedig y Swyddfa Cyfrifoldeb Cyllidebol (OBR), wedi darparu rhai derbyniadau twf a threth ychwanegol rhwng mis Gorffennaf a mis Hydref oedd yn gyfanswm o £23bn. Mae hyn yn golygu bod ganddo rywfaint o le i anadlu er mwyn peidio â chyflwyno toriadau Credyd Treth. Mae’r adolygiad ar wariant yn parhau i fod yn gyfanswm o ryw £19bn o doriadau sy’n gadael uchdwr o £4bn rhag ofn nad yw rhagolygon yr OBR mor hael â’r disgwyl.

Mae’r gostyngiad cyfunol mewn gwariant cyhoeddus yn golygu bod maint cymorth y wladwriaeth wedi gostwng o 50% fel cyfran o CMC yn 2010 i tua 36.5% erbyn diwedd tymor y senedd bresennol, gostyngiad enfawr, a dibyniaeth fawr ar y sector preifat ac awdurdodau lleol i godi’r effeithiau.

Rhai o’r prif gyhoeddiadau eraill

Ffocws ar berchnogaeth gartref

  • Mae’r cyn-feddiannaeth o berchnogaeth gartref fel dyhead i bawb yn amlwg (hoffi neu beidio). Mae cyllideb tai Lloegr yn debygol o ddyblu o £1 biliwn i £2bn, fodd bynnag, mae’r rhan fwyaf o hwn er mwyn canolbwyntio ar fynediad cynyddol i berchen-feddiant gan gynnwys cynlluniau rhanberchenogaeth a Help i Brynu gwell ar gyfer Llundain. Yn amlwg nid yw’r llywodraeth bellach yn cefnogi tai cymdeithasol fel cysyniad.
  • Mae’r llywodraeth hefyd wedi cyhoeddi ymrwymiad i fenter ‘adeiladu i brynu’ i annog datblygwyr mawr gyda chyllid i ddarparu 400,000 o gartrefi erbyn 2020. Mae’r mesurau hyn yn cynnwys 200,000 o gartrefi cyntaf ‘newydd’ gyda gostyngiad o 20% ar gyfer prynwyr tro cyntaf o dan 40 , yn ogystal â 135,000 o gartrefi rhanberchenogaeth Help i Brynu
  • Er bod y rhan fwyaf o bleidiau gwleidyddol yng Nghymru wedi ymrwymo i ddiddymu’r Hawl i Brynu (RTB), yn ôl y disgwyl, bydd yn cael ei ymestyn i gymdeithasau tai yn Lloegr. O hanner nos ar 25 Tachwedd, mae pum cymdeithas tai i gael eu treialu ar yr RTB Cymdeithasau Tai newydd, mae’r rhain yn cynnwys: London & Quadrant, Sovereign, Glan yr Afon, Tai Saffron a Dyffryn Tafwys.

O ran Hawl i Brynu mewn Tai Cymdeithasol, mae Tenantiaid Cymru a TPAS Cymru yn unedig yn eu gwrthwynebiad i’r polisi hwn. Rydym yn credu ei fod yn niweidiol i’r amcanion o fynd i’r afael â’r argyfwng tai yng Nghymru. Rydym hefyd yn pryderu y gall cymhellion mawr i ddatblygwyr mawr arwain at orddatblygu’r cymunedau heb isadeiledd addas ac adeiladu tai mwy o faint er mwyn gwneud elw ac nid ar gyfer anghenion y gymuned. Rhaid i gynlluniau datblygu Awdurdodau Lleol ac anghenion y gymuned gael eu parchu wrth adeiladu cartrefi addas.

Gofal Cymdeithasol i Oedolion

  • Yn gynharach yn y flwyddyn, roedd y Sector Gofal yn rhybuddio am effaith drychinebus ar gyfer darparwyr gofal ac awdurdodau lleol fel y pryniannau cynradd sy’n comisiynu gwasanaethau gofal i oedolion, gydag argyfwng arfaeth ym maes gofal cartref o ganlyniad i gyflwyno’r amrywiad cyflog Byw, sydd i’w gael ei gyflwyno ym mis Ebrill 2016. Mae’r ymateb yn ymddangos i adael yr atebolrwydd ar bobl sy’n talu treth cyngor yr awdurdodau lleol drwy amrywio’r Cap ar dreth y Cyngor.
  • Tra bydd Cap Treth y Cyngor, sy’n berthnasol i bob awdurdod lleol yng Nghymru a Lloegr, yn parhau, byddant yn gallu codi cynnydd o 2% i’w wario ar ‘Gofal Cymdeithasol i Oedolion’ i wrthbwyso’r argyfwng.
  • Yn ôl y canghellor, bydd y mesur hwn os y’i defnyddir yn llawn, yn darparu £2 biliwn o gyllid ychwanegol tuag at ddarparu cymorth i 50,000 o bobl hŷn mewn cartrefi gofal neu 200,000 mewn cymorth gofal cartref.

Sector rhentu preifat a Prynu-i-osod (PIO)

  • Cododd y Canghellor y ‘Treth Stamp’ gan godi’r pob band gan 3%. Mae hynny’n golygu ar gyfer eiddo sy’n werth rhwng £125,000 a £250,000, lle mae’r dreth stamp yn 2%, bydd landlordiaid prynu-i-osod yn talu 5%. Bydd cyfartaledd PIO Lloegr o £184,000, yn talu £5,520 yn ychwanegol o fis Ebrill 2016 ac yn ddiamau yn gorfodi cynnydd yn y rhenti er mwyn ceisio adennill y costau cynnar. Bydd y cynllun hefyd yn berthnasol i brynu ail gartrefi, fel cartrefi gwyliau. Bydd y cynllun yn codi £1bn erbyn 2020 lle bydd hyd at £60 miliwn o’r tâl ychwanegol a godwyd yn flynyddol yn cael ei wario ar leoedd lle mae tai haf wedi gorfodi cynnydd mewn prisiau.
  • Mae’r mesur yn dilyn o gyhoeddiad cyllideb fis Gorffennaf i leihau gallu’r landlordiaid i wrthbwyso costau llog morgais yn erbyn incwm rhent. Mae nifer o gynrychiolwyr y sector rhentu preifat wedi dweud bod disgwyl y bydd y newid yma, a fydd yn cael ei gyflwyno’n raddol rhwng 2017 a 2020, yn mynd i ostwng y cynnyrch sydd ar gael ar eiddo buddsoddi a gwneud llawer o gynlluniau prynu-i-osod presennol yn amhroffidiol. Bydd hyn yn gwaethygu llawer o landlordiaid preifat bach ymhellach.
  • Fodd bynnag, gall y cynllun ddarparu cymhelliant pellach i fuddsoddwyr eiddo masnachol, gyda mwy na 15 eiddo, y mae disgwyl iddynt gael eu heithrio rhag y taliadau newydd. Mae’r sector yng Nghymru mae gan gyfran uchel o landlordiaid gyda phortffolios bach. Gall y beichiau treth ychwanegol hyn, yn ogystal â’r cynllun cofrestru a thrwyddedu Cymru, gael effaith sylweddol ar y sector a chanlyniadau sylweddol ar rentwyr.

CAP ar Dai Cymdeithasol

  • Un o’r cyhoeddiadau na gafodd fawr o sylw yw’r un ynghylch rhoi cap ar Fudd-daliadau Tai i’r sector rhentu preifat ar raddau Lwfans Tai Lleol (LTLl) ar gyfer tenantiaid tai cymdeithasol er mwyn bod yn unol â’r cap LTLl y Sector Rhentu Preifat.
  • Bydd budd-daliadau tai a thaliadau credyd pensiwn hefyd yn cael ei stopio ar gyfer pobl sy’n gadael y wlad am fwy na mis. Ni fydd unrhyw amheuaeth y bydd pobl sy’n cymryd ymweliadau estynedig dramor am resymau crefyddol neu deuluol yn bryderus.

Pensiynwyr

  • Mae gan Gymru ganran uwch o bobl oedrannus fel cyfran o’r boblogaeth. Mae’r penderfyniad ymlaen llaw a gyhoeddwyd ym mis Ebrill i godi pensiwn sylfaenol y wladwriaeth o 2.9% yn golygu y bydd pensiynwyr yn derbyn cyfanswm newydd o £ 119.30 yr wythnos o fis Ebrill 2016. Fodd bynnag, mae pensiwn y wladwriaeth yn seiliedig ar gyfradd chwyddiant Mynegai Prisiau Defnyddwyr (CPI) , sydd ar hyn o bryd yn negyddol ar -0.1%. Mae hyn yn golygu y bydd pensiynau yn codi tua 5c yr wythnos yn 2016.

Ar Gymru

  • Mae’r llywodraeth am gyflwyno terfyn isaf yn lefel y cyllid cymharol a ddarperir i Lywodraeth Cymru ar 115% o wariant cymharol y pen yn Lloegr, o ystyried yr effaith sylweddol y gallai ddatganoli treth ei gael ar gyllid Cymru, bydd y terfyn isaf yn cael ei ailosod yn yr Adolygiad nesaf ar Wariant.
  • Bydd y llywodraeth hefyd yn deddfu i ddileu’r gofyniad i Gynulliad Cymru i gynnal refferendwm er mwyn gweithredu’r Cyfraddau Treth Incwm Cymru.
  • Mae’r llyfr Glas yn nodi bod yr Adolygiad ar Wariant yn cyflwyno cynnydd sylweddol mewn termau go iawn i gyllidebau cyfalaf Llywodraeth Cymru. Bydd cyllid ar gael ar gyfer buddsoddi yn y seilwaith drwy’r grant bloc hyd at 2020-21 yn codi o 16%, sy’n golygu dros £900 miliwn yn fwy na phe bai wedi cael ei gynnal ar lefelau 2015-16.
  • Mae’r llyfr Glas hefyd yn datgan bod y llywodraeth yn gweithio gydag Uwch Ranbarth Caerdydd a Llywodraeth Cymru i ddarparu Bargen Dinas uchelgeisiol i Gaerdydd gydag ymrwymiad mewn egwyddor i gyfrannu at gronfa seilwaith ar gyfer rhanbarth Caerdydd.
  • Mae’r llywodraeth hefyd yn buddsoddi mewn prosiectau fel y carchar newydd, modern yn Wrecsam, buddsoddiad o £212,000,000 a fydd yn creu 1,000 o swyddi.

Mae Tenantiaid Cymru a TPAS Cymru yn pryderu am y pwyslais parhaus o daro’r rhai sydd fwyaf agored i niwed yn ein cymdeithas drwy’r rhaglen llymder Llywodraeth y DU. Mae methiant i fuddsoddi’n sylweddol mewn tai cymdeithasol yn golygu y bydd y rhai ar incwm cyfartalog ar y cyd o lai na £27,000 yn parhau i gael trafferth dros y pum mlynedd nesaf, yn enwedig wrth i Gredyd Cynhwysol gael ei gyflwyno a’r capiau lles gymryd gafael.

Er bod y terfyn isaf ar ariannu yn welliant mae’n parhau i weld Cymru wedi cloi i mewn i’r Fformiwla Barnet anfri sydd ddim yn darparu cyllid teg i Gymru ac yn cynnal Cymru fel perthynas dlawd y DU. Mae’r Canghellor hefyd yn cadarnhau y bydd Gogledd Iwerddon yn cael pwerau treth gorfforaeth, ond ni fydd Cymru. Os yw Cymru am fynd i’r afael â’r anghydraddoldeb cymdeithasol sy’n bodoli yna mae angen yr ystod lawn o offer cyllidol y mae rhannau eraill o’r DU yn eu cael.

Rydym yn gwybod yn iawn y bydd y pwyslais ar berchen-feddiant yn parhau i fod yn sbardun allweddol dros y pum mlynedd nesaf,. Er bod hynny’n dda i enillwyr uwch na’r cyfartaledd yng Nghymru sy’n gallu fforddio blaendal, mae angen hefyd i roi pwyslais sylweddol ar ddarparu tai rhent is na’r farchnad i ddarparu ar gyfer y rhai sy’n agored i niwed a’r rhai ar gyflog isel.

Bydd hefyd angen i Lywodraeth Cymru asesu’r effeithiau y mae amrywiaeth o fesurau treth yn ei gael ar y sector rhentu preifat os yw am barhau i ddibynnu ar y sector rhentu preifat i gwrdd ag anghenion llety teuluoedd ar incwm isel. Bydd y sector rhentu preifat yn dod yn fwy tameidiog gan fod rhai yn manteisio ar dwf i ddianc rhai o oblygiadau treth ac eraill yn penderfynu gwerthu a rhoi notis i’w tenantiaid. Efallai y bydd angen cynllun achub cynhwysfawr ar gyfer y landlordiaid hynny sy’n penderfynu ar yr olaf.

Datganiad gan Tenantiaid Cymru a TPAS Cymru.

Rhai dolenni defnyddiol

Cyswllt i ddogfennau llawn Datganiad yr Hydref ac Adolygiad ar Wariant drwy Drysorlys EM https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/479749/52229_Blue_Book_PU1865_Web_Accessible.pdf

Adroddiad arbennig: Sylw llawn manwl ar yr Adolygiad ar Wariant a Datganiad yr Hydref http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34908612

 

 

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