Sunday, 01 March 2015

Benefit cuts to hit 130,000 jobless families

Proposed cuts to housing benefit for the unemployed will hit more than 130,000 households, a study has found.

The University of York study for the National Housing Federation has found the plans will hit 133,000 households in England, costing them an average of £475 a year.

The controversial proposals would see housing benefit payments reduced by 10 per cent for people who have been out of work for more than a year. They are due to be confirmed in the forthcoming Welfare Reform Bill, although Inside Housing has heard ministers are discussing making last minute amendments to the cut, or dropping it altogether.

The NHF study calculated the average housing benefit claim from someone who is also on jobseeker’s allowance is £91.35 a week, meaning they would lose £9.14. Households claiming the maximum amount of housing benefit would lose £2,080 a year.

The number of households affected by the cut is likely to rise as the government shifts people from incapacity benefit onto jobseeker’s allowance as part of wider welfare reforms.

NHF chief executive David Orr said: ‘To reduce the housing allowance for those out of work means punishing people for failing to find a job in a very difficult job market.

‘The proposal is unfair, unjust and will heap further misery onto households already under huge financial pressure.’

Readers' comments (24)

  • Chris Webb

    The effects will be wider than that - if only because these 133,000 will no longer be consumers, thus no longer require production or service, reducing the employment within the private sector and reducing the taxation base of the nation. This spiral of economic retraction will ensure that this continues to impoverish greater numbers until economic intervention is made. This was the lesson under Lawson and will be the lesson now.

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  • £2,080 a year loss!

    This is way more than the middle classes went into uproar over with Child Benefit for those earning over £43,000 or so per year. Remember that a few months back, splashed all over BBC radio, TV news - How wrong it was we were all told, a national disgrace, etc,etc,etc. I mean 2 earners each getting £40k per year wouldnt lose but...etc etc.

    Anyone see the country getting into an uproar over this. Frankly no, this is the feckless, workless, workshy etc,etc and not the hard working God-fearing folk.

    Interesting what labels do to people, whether just or unjust isnt it?

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  • Afzal Shabir

    I can at an extreme, understand JSA cuts of 10% but applying a cut to HB is like the government wants to beat people when they are down. If some people are genuinely trying to look for a job and can't find one then they could be in danger of not only losing some of their daily bread, but also their home?
    Where is the sense in that?
    Does the government have enough homeless accommodation to spare for such people? If not, then they better start building....

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  • TDD - You've just revealed the master plan of Shapps - Let HAs charge 80% market rents so they can develop the temporary homeless accommodation needed for those affected by the HB cuts and caps.

    Why didnt I see this before!!!

    So who said Shapps doesnt care??

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  • abner arrow

    The problem is the global approach; as a family with 30 years NI contribution , may find themselves in a poverty trap, as the system does not recognise years of paid contributions.

    The funniest part I have been told , is when one wants to claim, and the treatment they receive from the housing claims officers.

    If NI is really an insurance, it should be treated as such, if it can not be, we might as well dismantle the benefit system and empty that in the dustbin of history as the epitome of capitalism for the prevention of social democracy.

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  • This EXTRA 10% reduction in LHA after the 10% percentile reduction is an absolute disgrace, and I can only hope that the ministers mentioned above have enough common sense to scrap this proposed element.

    If not there will be an explosion in homelessness.

    This really has NOT been thought through.

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  • Homelessness is going to go through the ROOF, literally. What with the 10% deduction for those who have been out of work for more than a year, the age increase in Single Persons Room Allowance from 25 years to 35 years, and the decrease in LHA rates from April, what landlord in their right mind is going to want to take on people on Housing Benefit as a tenant? Do you think private landlords are going to reduce the rent for people on Housing Benefit? Of course not! They'll serve a S21 and get the HB tenant out and a working tenant in, so they can charge what they want.

    As an example, my rent if £475 per month for a 3 bed property. LHA only pays me £98 per week on a 2 bed rate because my children are the same sex and close in age. They do NOT take into account my husband's disability, or the fact that sometimes I sleep in one of the kids rooms on a sofa bed to get an uninterrupted nights sleep. In April, my LHA rate is forecast to drop to £90 per week, or £390 per month. Is my landlord likely to drop my rent for the periods when I am out of work to look after my husband? Of course not! Alternative accommodation in my area is £500 per month for a 2 bed house or £600+ for a new build 2 bed flat, neither of which would come under LHA and would leave me with an even bigger monthly shortfall. There is no social housing and the advent of CBL means I'll be waiting forever and a day before I get a social tenancy.

    The proposed changes have NOT been thought through properly. Homelessness is going to go through the roof because people cannot afford to remain in their accommodation through no fault of their own.

    Rant over.....

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  • Paul Yianni

    I think you might be over reacting Cheryl.

    You're only going to lose £1 a day!

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  • Sarah Chapman

    Mr P - if you think this is so trivial a loss, why don't you make it up to her yourself?

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  • Rick Campbell

    Mr P, perhaps George 'No-Tax' Osborne might care to fork out a few quid to Cheryl out of the alleged millions his daddy saved him in tax by putting his inheritance in a trust fund?

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