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Cross Keys Homes (CKH) has called on the Government to protect people locally who are already struggling in the cost-of-living crisis.

CKH’s Chief Executive and Vice Chair of PlaceShapers, Claire Higgins, has written to all MPs in the areas in which the housing association operates explaining the Government must keep its pledge of raising benefits at least with inflation and make changes to funding so we can invest more in existing and new homes.

The housing association has asked MPs to contact the Government about this ahead of the Chancellor’s Fiscal Plan announcement due on Monday 31 October.

Claire Higgins said: “People on the lowest incomes will be even worse off if benefits are not increased in line with inflation, forcing them to make even harder choices in the worsening cost of living crisis. In Peterborough’s constituency, data from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows 19,721 families receive means-tested benefits. The benefits provide an invaluable safety net, including the 41% of recipients of Universal Credit who are in work.”

Five measures have been set out in a letter sent to the Secretaries of State at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Department for Work and Pensions by PlaceShapers, the national network of place-based social landlords of which CKH are a part of, and the Chartered Institute of Housing.

The measures are:

  1. Increase benefits in line with the consumer prices index annual rate for September 2022, as the government had previously committed to.
  2. Amend the tax system so we pay 5% VAT for improvements to existing homes, the same as demolishing and building new homes. Nationally, this could provide a £15.1 billion stimulus to the economy, 95,480 extra jobs over five years, and save almost 240,000 tonnes of CO2.
  3. Allocate additional grant funding so our investment in future homes is not harmed by any lost rental income associated with a rent cap.
  4. Relax the criteria on existing housing funds to allow more regeneration and retrofitting which would allow us to make homes greener.
  5. Reform the funding system so we can invest money from our shared ownership sales into improving existing homes, rather than just building new ones.

Notes to Editor

PlaceShapers and the Chartered Institute of Housing sent the letter to the Rt Hon Simon Clarke MP, Secretary of State, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Chloe Smith MP, Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions on Thursday 13th October.

About PlaceShapers

PlaceShapers is a national network of place-based housing organisations that help communities to thrive. We connect, communicate and collaborate for greater influence. Our members manage over one million homes and provide housing for one in four households in social housing. Further information can be found at

About the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH)

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is the professional body for people who work in housing, the independent voice for housing, and the home of professional standards. CIH has a diverse membership of people who work in both the public and private sector housing, in 20 countries on five continents across the world. The organisation’s goal is to support housing professionals to create a future in which everyone has a place to call home by providing housing professionals and their organisations with the advice, support, and knowledge they need. CIH is a registered charity and not-for-profit organisation with any profit made put back into the organisation to fund the activities carried out to support the housing sector. Further information can be found at

Issued 21/10/22