Unions condemn housing benefit cuts
The Trades Union Congress has condemned the government’s decision to cut housing benefit payments.
The TUC said its analysis of the Department for Work and Pension’s impact assessment into the changes suggested the government was burying difficult decisions ‘in the small print’ of the Budget document.
The DWP’s assessment concedes that 100 per cent of households on local housing allowance will be hurt by the reforms, and that families will lose around £12 a week once their benefits are cut.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘The chancellor promised “not to hide any hard choices from the British people or bury them in the small print of the budget documents”, but this is another reminder that we are definitely not all in this together.
‘While the rich have been let off, families are being left to pick up the cost of the recession.’
This came as the National Housing Federation predicted that nearly a million people will be put at risk of debt, arrears or homelessness as a result of the changes.
The federation said the cuts would affect 431,000 women, 308,000 low-paid workers, 299,800 single parents, 205,500 unemployed people, 178,000 people with disabilities 121,800 black and Asian people and 75,000 older people.
David Orr, chief executive of the NHF, said: ‘Ministers have said consistently since taking office that they will do their utmost to protect the most vulnerable – and yet the introduction of the housing benefit caps will clearly lead to an onslaught on some of the most vulnerable groups in society.
‘The changes could see hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people fall into debt, forced out of their homes and neighbourhoods and crammed into overcrowded ghettos. Many others will simply become homeless.’