The Federation believes that overall the cuts to housing benefit will leave around 936,000 people at risk of being driven into debt, falling into arrears or losing their home, with a high proportion at risk of ending up homeless.
Federation analysis of the Government’s own figures shows that among those who will lose an average of £624 a year under the cuts are:
308,000 low paid workers
299,800 single parents
205,500 unemployed people
178,000 people with disabilities
121,800 black and Asian people and
75,000 older people.
Federation analysis of figures published last week by the Government also show that the worst hit regions will be:
London – with 159,370 people losing out
North West – with 130,900 people losing out and
South East – with 123,000 people losing out.
Among the places that will be badly affected according to the Federation’s analysis are:
Birmingham – with 18,870 people losing out
Leeds – with 15,610 people losing out
Liverpool – with 12,620 people losing out
Manchester – with 10,210 people losing out
Lewisham – with 9,050 people losing out
Bristol – with 8,630 people losing out
Nottingham – with 5,840 people losing out
Lambeth – with 5,470 people losing out
Tower Hamlets – with 3,580 people losing out and
Norwich – with 2,420 people losing out.
The benefit reforms will impose caps on housing benefit of £400 a week on homes with four or more bedrooms, £340 for a three bedroom home, and £250 a week for a two bedroom home.
The changes also mean that instead of people on housing benefit being able to claim rent in line with properties in the bottom half of the local private rented market, they will only be able to claim rent in line with the bottom third of properties.
Families with children will also be badly hit by the changes, as people living in five bedroom homes will lose an average £2,964 a year, people in four bedroom homes will lose an average £1,144 and people in three bedroom homes will lose an average £780 a year.
Those affected will be forced to cover the cuts in benefit with any disposable income they can find – which in many cases will mean people will have to reduce their spending on food, clothing and energy.
In a related development, the Government also this week announced its intention to roll all benefits into one payment. The Federation said that the proposal was good in principle but that it wanted to see the detail of how the change would be implemented.
In response to the sweeping welfare reforms currently being announced, the Federation is calling for the Government to set up a poverty commission to look at the impact of the changes on the poor and most vulnerable before the policies are introduced.
Federation chief executive David Orr said: ‘Ministers have said consistently since taking office that they will do their utmost to protect the most vulnerable – and yet the introduction of the housing benefit caps will clearly lead to an onslaught on some of the most vulnerable groups in society.
‘The changes could see hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people fall into debt, forced out of their homes and neighbourhoods and crammed into overcrowded ghettos. Many others will simply become homeless.’
He added: ‘The proposal to roll all benefits into one payment is good in principle but we want to see the detail of how this will be implemented to make sure that they support people into work, without putting their rent payments at risk.
‘The changes being proposed by the Government are so sweeping that ministers urgently need to establish an independent poverty commission to assess the impact on the poor and most vulnerable.’
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