Advisory committee launches housing benefit inquiry
The social security advisory committee has launched an inquiry into the government’s proposed changes to housing benefit.
The committee, which advises the Work and Pensions secretary on changes to secondary legislation, is inviting responses from organisations and individuals interested in the effects of the reforms.
In his first Budget speech as chancellor, George Osborne announced a package to cut housing benefit by £1.8 billion a year by 2014/15.
He plans to change the system he said was in ‘dire need of reform’. Local housing allowance will be limited to between £280 and £400 a week, depending on house size, and housing benefit will be reduced by 10 per cent if a claimant has claimed jobseeker’s allowance for 12 months. The proposals have provoked strong public reactions.
The SSAC’s consultation runs until 10 September, and it may then take findings and recommendations to the current secretary of state, Iain Duncan Smith.
A spokeswoman for the SSAC said housing benefit had always historically provoked the largest response from the public, and the committee was expecting a record number of submissions to the consultation.
Inside Housing launched its campaign What’s the Benefit last month to find a fairer way of getting the bill down.
The work and pensions select committee quickly backed one of the key demands by agreeing to hold an inquiry into the controversial reforms.
By the end of July, overwhelming support from landlords, tenants and charities had seen 655 people sign a petition voicing concern about the plans - smashing a second campaign target to secure 500 signatures.
Picture credit: Alamy