Government faces legal challenge to housing benefit cuts

The cuts are likely to have a dramatic effect in London in particular. The Mayor of London has said that around 9000 London households will have to leave their homes. This could mean upwards of 20,000 children will have to move, 14,000 out of their local area.

Child Poverty Action Group Chief Executive Alison Garnham said: "We have served legal proceedings on the Government to protect Britain from becoming a country where neighbourhoods that have been open to all families to live in for generations become more like a private members club.

"Housing Benefit will no longer be the national scheme it is legally meant to be once cuts redesign it as an engine of social segregation. It is not right that families living in certain areas, especially larger families, are punished and pushed aside while parts of Britain become enclaves for the privileged.

"London will be worst affected of all. The cuts will mean the social cleansing of parts of London with families being forced out of their homes and into less suitable, often poor quality and cramped housing.

"Children will be forced to move away from schools, friends, neighbourhoods and family. For some this may include moving away from another parent, most often their Dad.

"David Cameron made a clear promise before the election to make British poverty history. We didn’t expect this to mean families being told to pack up and move out of the neighbourhood their parents and grandparents lived in because of the housing market bubble the bankers created and the bankers’ bailout that hit the ordinary taxpayer."

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2 thoughts on “Government faces legal challenge to housing benefit cuts

  1. Maria Kemp

    As an Agent with over 300 landlords on our books, I can only actually think of 4 who have taken on tenants on full HB, and only a handful more that have had help with rent in advance and deposit bonds in the last 4 years since we started trading.
    Whilst I can see what the Government is trying to do in forcing down rents, they’re not recognising that the lion’s share of the private rental sector, where the houses are, do not deal with HB tenants and are not going to succumb to any such “pressures”. Landlords already involved with HB tenants are in the minority and if you start to alienate them by reducing their rents and making life more difficult, where are the excess tenants of this fallout going to end up.
    The Government needs to remember that it sold off all the Council houses years ago and have not built the required number of affordable homes to replace them. The Government also needs to recognise that it needs the private rented sector to fill the void they have created and should be motivating them, not pushing them into unworkable situations.
    Rental price bandings are very narrow in this area with only £25 – £50 per month difference at most between one average 3 bed house and another. If warranting a 3 bed house, what do these tenants do, reduce to a 2 bed and create overcrowding, condensation issues, social issues and so on? How much is it going to cost in moving these tenants? Surely it is more expensive to find rent in advance, deposit bonds, man hours, paperwork etc then it would be to keep them where they are? What happens to the tenants already at the bottom of the housing market, where do they end up? I can only assume in substandard properties that would not reach the decent homes standards, or all lumped together in the poorest areas of society. This in turn will have social strains, effects on crime rates, health issues and that’s just for starters!
    At a time where no new social housing has been developed and more people than ever are having to rely on the private rented sector, surely the Government should be offering incentives to encourage more landlords to take on HB tenants rather than potentially reducing the already incredibly low number of landlords that do?
    I cannot see how these changes are going to work. The Government might think this is a cunning way to save money, but all its doing is creating the biggest housing crisis we will have seen for decades.
    They also need to appreciate that wages have not risen in relation to property prices over the years and there are a lot of hard working individuals on HB top ups, it’s not just the unemployed who will be affected by these changes. There is also the elderly population to consider whose pensions and savings have been severely affected, who also make up a large proportion of HB tenants in our area.
    Very worrying times ahead!

  2. Felicity

    Exactly. I will have to move to the other part of the country away from my sons father. The resolve, to have him also move out the area and give up his job to be closer to us in an area with less work to his profession. Is this hell on earth?

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