Third of tenants face underoccupancy cut
Cutting housing benefit for working-age tenants who underoccupy their homes will affect around a third of those living in social housing, the government has revealed.
An impact assessment from the Department for Work and Pensions estimates that limiting housing benefit payments to the number of bedrooms that a social tenant actually needs will affect 670,000 people living in social housing.
The report, released yesterday as part of the government’s Welfare Reform Bill, says most tenants only underoccupy by one bedroom, and will lose around £11 a week in 2013/14, when the change comes into play.
Those with two or more bedrooms that they do not use will lose an average of £20 per week, the assessment says. It also found that tenants in the north, east midlands and Wales were more likely to be affected than those living in London and the south east.
Around 46 per cent of social tenants in the north east will see their housing benefit cut by around £12 a week, while only 19 per cent of London tenants will be affected.
The National Housing Federation condemned the plans. David Orr, chief executive, said: ‘Ministers have long promised to protect the vulnerable and yet these plans could force thousands of people to move out of homes they have lived in for many years.
‘As a result of these changes, thousands of couples are no longer able to offer their grown-up children a room to stay in should their circumstances change, and many single parents will be pushed away from friends, relatives and support networks.’
Inside Housing’s What’s the Benefit? campaign is pushing for fairer welfare reforms