Saturday, 01 August 2015

DWP concerned by tenure reform plans

The Department for Work and Pensions is unhappy about government plans to reform security of tenure and to cut housing benefit, a minister revealed last night.

Pensions minister Steve Webb, Liberal Democrat MP for Northavon, told a meeting on welfare reform at his party’s annual conference in Liverpool that scrapping lifetime tenancies for social tenants would not help people get back into work.

He also criticised Treasury plans announced in June’s emergency Budget to dock housing benefit by 10 per cent for those who have been receiving jobseeker’s allowance for more than a year.

He said: ‘[Removing security of tenure] would make the problem worse. I would be very concerned if they did that.’

In response to a question about the fairness of cuts to housing benefit for the long-term unemployed, Mr Webb said: ‘Your point is well understood: that is not the best bit of housing reform.’

Mr Webb told the meeting that reforms to welfare announced by secretary of state for work and pensions Iain Duncan Smith would make work pay for people who could only work part-time, either because they had child care responsibilities or were recovering from an illness.

Earlier this week housing minister Grant Shapps told a fringe event at the conference the government plans to allow social landlords to offer fixed-term tenancies instead of the lifetime agreements currently used.

Keep up with all our latest coverage of the Liberal Democrat conference through our blog or on twitter

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