Benefit cuts 'devastating'

30 November 2010

The devastating impact of cuts to housing benefit is beyond doubt, Shelter said in response to regulations laid in Parliament today.

Legislation was put forward in Parliament to introduce the government’s cuts to housing benefit, but was shortly followed by the publication of a report by the Social Security Advisory Committee, an independent watchdog, which described the cuts as a high risk policy that would increase financial hardship and child poverty. The report recommended that the cuts should not go ahead.

Shelter’s Chief Executive Campbell Robb said:

‘The devastating impact of cuts to housing benefit both on individuals and wider society is now beyond doubt. Combined with cuts to funding for welfare advice and affordable house building, the future looks extremely bleak for those in the greatest housing need.

‘On the same day as regulations are being laid in Parliament to cut the housing benefit of over a million of the poorest households in Britain, a report published by the government’s own advisory committee has recommended that the changes should not go ahead', he continued.

The report concludes that the cuts are not only ‘high risk’, but will increase child poverty and harm social cohesion while being ‘completely out of step’ with the government’s objective to make work pay.

Mr Robb added: ‘We are pleased to see that the government has increased the powers of local authorities to make direct payments of local housing allowance straight to landlords, which we know can help tenants stay in their homes, and the delay the introduction of the cap will help some claimants better cope with the cuts.

‘But this will not change the fact that when these changes will come into force, 134,000 households will be uprooted from their homes. It is extremely disappointing that the government has ignored the advice of both its own advisory committee and voices across the housing sector in ploughing ahead with these damaging proposals.’

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