Response - A New Deal for Welfare: Empowering People to Work

By: Daniel Martin  Published: May 2006


Shelter's response to the DWP's consultation on reforms of the benefits system.

Summary

Social Sector: Shelter is strongly against introducing a flat-rate Local Housing Allowance for the social sector as there is insufficient supply in the sector in most areas to allow claimants any realistic notion of 'shopping around'.

 

We are also strongly against a compulsory scheme of direct payments in the social sector. Whilst we are supportive of the Government's wider agenda to encourage financial inclusion and incentives to work we feel that due to the nature of many of the tenants in the social sector this approach will be inappropriate. 

 

Local Housing Allowance in the private rented sector:  We are supportive of the improvements made with regard to shortfalls in the Pathfinder areas but are concerned at the variations in the proportion of properties affordable under LHA across different areas.

 

Anti-Social-Behaviour and Housing Benefit sanctions:  We are disappointed to learn that the Government is once again considering this issue. As we highlighted previously it is difficult to envisage a sanctions regime that will not simply move problems on to different - and usually poorer - communities and exacerbate poverty for other innocent, family members

 

Other Housing Benefit concerns:  We are concerned that rates of payments should be sufficiently generous to allow access to a reasonable level of good quality accommodation; that payments are made within a reasonable time; and that claimants are not prevented from securing accommodation due to age related restrictions. 

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