Budget 2010: Housing Benefit cuts
Today’s Budget contains some severe cuts in Housing Benefit. The Budget reveals that from October 2011 Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will be set at 30 per cent of local rents. It is currently set at the median of local rents. This means that in any given area the amount available to pay for housing for eligible claimants will fall significantly.
Shelter in Scotland have said:
This is at a time when nearly half of LHA claimants are already making up a shortfall of almost £100 a month to meet their rent. By ripping out this support from under their feet it will push many households over the edge, triggering a spiral of debt, eviction and homelessness.
Further changes are also proposed. There will be cuts in the rates that will be paid for larger properties, which accommodate families. From next April LHA will be capped at £250 for a one bedroom property, £290 for a two bedroom property, £340 for a three bedroom property and £400 a week for a four bedroom property.
Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants who are in reciept of Housing Benefit will also be penalised – from April 2013 after they have been claiming JSA for a year they will have their Housing Benefit entitlement cut by 10 per cent – presumably meaning that they have to move house, become homeless or pay the extra with their £65 a week JSA.
Details on the impacts of these changes will become apparent over the next few days. But it seems highly likely that they will lead to LHA recipients being marginalised into the worst accommodation in the poorest areas, or to it being impossible for families to be accomodated at all – which will mean that the costs of temporary and bed and breakfast accommodation, as well as social service budgets, will rocket.