Monday, 03 August 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.’

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