Housing benefit caps put 750,000 at risk of losing home

It said its research showed 425,000 people in London were at risk of losing their home, while 326,250 people in the south east were at risk of losing theirs.

It added that the impact of the housing benefit cuts was likely to lead to the highest number of people ending up homeless in Britain for more than 30 years.

The Federation is calling for the Government to set up a poverty commission to look at the impact of housing benefit cuts on the poor.

The scale of problems caused by the proposed housing benefit caps is revealed on the day the Government prepares to publish an impact assessment of the changes introduced by the Chancellor during the Budget.

The Federation said it was vital ministers acknowledged just how catastrophic the changes to housing benefit could be.

In his Budget, the Chancellor imposed caps on housing benefit of £400 a week on any property with four or more bedrooms, and £250 a week for a two-bedroom home.

The Chancellor also decided that instead of people on benefit being able to claim rent of up to half of the local market average, they will instead be only able to claim up to one third of the local market average rent.

And unemployed people who claim Job Seeker’s Allowance for 12 months will also see their housing benefit fall by 10% under the controversial plans.

The result of the introduction of caps on housing benefit and the ruling that people will only be able to claim up to one third of the local market average is that thousands of lower income families will not be able to afford to live in many parts of London – such as Islington, Camden and Southwark – and the south east.

While many people will look to move to cheaper accommodation, there will not be enough housing in parts of London and the south east within the cap levels to go around. Many others will quickly fall into arrears and be evicted.

In some cases, local authorities may be legally obliged to house those evicted – with some ending up in expensive bed and breakfast properties. In other cases, councils may not have to re-house them and they could end up on the streets.

There are currently around 140,000 people homeless in Britain, which is down from a peak of 174,503 people in 2003 – the highest figure since modern records on homelessness began in 1980.

The Federation believes that the combined effect of the Government’s raft of proposed changes to housing benefit could lead to up to 750,000 people being at risk of becoming homeless.

Federation chief executive David Orr said: "If the Government presses ahead and introduces harsh housing benefit cuts more than 750,000 people would be at risk of losing their home.

"The housing benefit caps could see poorer people effectively forced out of wealthier areas, and ghettoised into poorer neighbourhoods.

"Some people affected by housing benefit caps may successfully find a home in cheaper areas, but many will end up in expensive bed and breakfast accommodation, while thousands will simply become homeless.

"Unless ministers urgently reconsider these punitive housing benefit cuts, we may see more people sleeping rough than at any stage during the last 30 years.

"An independent poverty commission should quickly be established to assess the impact cuts to housing benefits will have on the poorest."

He added: "For many people, particularly those with disabilities, moving could be an enormous upheaval. It will also disrupt the education of thousands of children.

"The resulting impact on people’s lives would be huge – as would the cost to the taxpayer."

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0 thoughts on “Housing benefit caps put 750,000 at risk of losing home

  1. tony

    they are also going to cut 30% off the lower end of the market meaning if you remt a 2 bed in leeds getting £540 pr month lha you will only get £378 i know a few landlords selling now to get out before its to late meaning they are making thre tenents homeless now they had better get a grip now this is begining to look like the 30s depression where tenents couldnt pay there rents and were made homeless

  2. nick

    unless there is a massive sea change in terms of unemployed people being made to do at least some kind of training for voluntary work/community work, then home continues to be a freebie for some people and an expensive thing you work every hour sent to pay for for others. That too is a two tier system, where people who do pay all their housing costs are at a disadvantage. the only way to be able to afford to keep housing benefit at current levels is to utilise some of that manpower that is sitting around at home to fill the gaps in services that are depserately needed country wide. That way people’s homes are protected and essential services are propped up with little expenditure to counter housing benefit costs.

  3. Major Landlord

    The “cuts” to housing benefit should not affect anybody who is living in a sensibly-priced, suitable rented property. It WILL affect landlords who took unfair dvantage of the appalling new LHA banding system, that would allow me to overcharge £200 a month for some of my properties, were I dishonest. Andf it WILL affect those who feel it’s OK to spend their entire lives on housing and unemployment benefit. Message: GO AND GET A JOB.

    LHA is completely out of control. It has not helped landlords (except the greedy few) as it is paid direct to tenants, many of whom then keep the money. And it has not helped tenants, because many owners and agents will no longer accept benefit claimants because rent is paid to the tenant. And they don’t have any more choice, or any better value for money. LHA should be scrapped.

    I am a landlord, but I am in total agreement with these revisions to the benefit system. I have nothing to fear, and neither do my tenants. The new limits are perfectly adequate. We cannot continue with the Labour mentality of throwing money away. And our dependence on benefits has to stop, too.

    The NHF should stop wasting everyone’s time with these needless and pointless rants, and focus on REAL issues: like getting councils to bring 650,000 empty living units back into use.