Monday, 02 March 2015

Borough raises concerns over welfare reform

Senior figures in a London borough have signed a pledge voicing their concern about the impact proposed changes to welfare will have on residents.

Councillors, community groups and the Mayor of Tower Hamlets have all signed a pledge which laments the affect changes such as the extension of the single room rate restrictions to under 35’s and the welfare cap will have on around 6,000 claimants.

The pledge also makes a number of commitments including:

  • Providing housing affordable to all residents who require it
  • Strengthening financial inclusion by providing access to advice for households in arrears or debt
  • Supporting young people in affected families with the transition from education to employment
  • Equipping residents with the right skills to gain employment
  • Helping residents suffering from anxiety and stress to access the appropriate health and support services
  • Working together to prevent crime and anti social behaviour

Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: ‘The changes to benefits will make housing unaffordable to many, it will result in increased overcrowding, with more residents in debt and rent arrears.

‘It will lead to residents being forced to move away from their homes, their families and the communities that they have helped to build.

‘As a directly elected mayor, as a council and as a partnership we have a duty to protect all our residents and work to ensure they have a decent standard of living.’

Readers' comments (7)

  • Chris

    Could this be the foundation for a stand off in the form of those heroic Poplar Councillors, who's stand for rate reform and welfare won many of the gains so taken for granted today, and indeed only now being removed by the Tories?

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  • Rick Campbell

    It is shameful that the Tory lapdogs (the LibDems) and the (oxymoronic)Opposition did little in comparison (to their stance on the NHS) to try to safeguard the interests of those that "Senior figures" seem to.

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  • BlokeWithAConscience

    I'm grateful to Tower Hamlets for standing up for us. It's shameful that the Tories and LibDems do not care about tenants and choose to pile on the agony coupled with the stigmatisation. If only a political party would take on board the interests of tenants we would have someone to vote for. The constant dispensing of housing association/private development get rich quick schemes where there should be council housing at genuinely affordable rents is sickening. The constant attacks on tenants rights and undermining of council housing reflects poorly on those in power that have several spare bedrooms or spare houses.

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  • Jon Southall

    The truth is, the commitments outlined above are more about PR. They have little to do with welfare changes. Hasn't the objective of social housing been to meet these commitments anyway, and hasn't it been so for a considerable time now?

    It's a bit like a supermarket saying its going to stack edible food, which is appealing and offered at low prices, in response to the economic downturn. When this is what they were proclaiming to be doing beforehand.

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  • You mean TH weren't doing any of those pledges beforehand? Most decent councils (of which there are few) have been trying to achieve those goals without using the welfare reforms to make it look like a good will gesture.

    Having seen TH's housing management firsthand, I'd list them very low on the scale of good councils for housing.

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  • The tories are imposing £18 Billion of benefit cuts on the poorest
    people , especially by reducing their vital housing / council tax
    entitlements to cause them great financial difficulty.
    Unfortunately , local councils have trebled the rent in the past
    15 years , built very very few new homes , and now have 5 million
    people on their waiting lists, as well as the "bedroom tax"
    creating a demand for 670,000 extra council homes to assist
    those who need to downsize.

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  • MP`s whose homes are funded by the tax payer should be affected by the new rules they are imposing on others how many spare rooms have they got!!!!!

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