From the TUC

Housing Benefit changes will make thousands homeless in London alone

22 Sep 2010, by in Society & Welfare

A new report by London Councils (the umbrella body for local government in the capital) looks at the likely impact of the coalition’s planned cuts in Housing Benefit. The Impact of Housing Benefit Changes in London, based on a survey of landlords, shows that 82,000 London households could be made homeless.

The TUC has been warning since they were announced in the Budget that the government’s plans risk causing mass misery and homelessness and this report confirms it.

The report concentrates on the effect of the reforms on the level of rent that will be paid to landlords, and two reforms are particularly likely to reduce the rent that can be paid by HB:

  • A cap on the maximum payable for each property size (£400 a week for 4 bedrooms and £250 a week 2, for instance) and
  • Changing the maximum that can be paid from the 50th to the 30th percentile of privately rented houses and flats in an area.

The government has suggested that this will force landlords to lower their rents – though, as the report points out, there was no attempt to find out how landlords in London (where rents are highest) would actually respond. The report quotes evidence that the London rental market is buoyant, so landlords may not feel as pressured as politicians assume.

The survey found that:

  • 60% of landlords would refuse to lower their rents.
  • 77% would evict tenants who were falling short of their rent by £10 – £20 a week and 91% if the shortfall was £20 – £50.
  • In London, 21% of tenants will find their HB falls short of their rent by £20 a week or more and another 24% will find their HB is £10 – £20 short of their rent.
  • The DWP has calculated how many properties in each region will find that their HB falls short by these amounts. Using these figures and applying the results of the survey, the report calculates that 82,000 London tenants risk losing their homes.

In addition, the Guardian points out, up to 90% of landlords will be less likely to accept benefit claimants as tenants if the benefit rates fall, according to the National Landlords Association.

2 Responses to Housing Benefit changes will make thousands homeless in London alone

  1. Alexis
    Sep 23rd 2010, 11:42 am

    Yes, this and the changes to Support for Mortgage Interest too. Thousands of people risk losing their homes.

    What use is this to economic recovery? A lot of people without anywhere to live, unintentionally homeless and susceptible to having to use other over-stretched resources, such as the NHS, because people will become ill.

    There is a human rights angle and issue to this and is something that I’m looking into.

  2. Housing Benefit partial rethink | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC
    Oct 28th 2010, 1:03 pm

    […] views can change quickly.  We have been arguing against the HB changes since the day they were announced, and the arguments we have made have been entirely reasonable. Bear in mind what is going to […]