Welfare cuts putting 'incredible pressure' on housing services

Brighton and Hove's housing services are facing a crisis, with the council claiming that the city has been "singled-out" for austerity.

Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty, Brighton and Hove City Council's deputy leader, has said that a "perfect storm" of housing and council tax benefit changes have meant "that many vulnerable people aren’t going to be able to get the help they need to keep a roof over their heads".

Cllr Mac Cafferty claims that government announcements in the last month alone have put another £10 million hole in the city's budget.

The council's leader, Jason Kitcat, has now written to Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, to tell him how comparative analysis has demonstrated that Brighton and Hove is the most deeply affected city for cuts in the Southeast region on a ‘per head’ measurement.

Cllr Mac Cafferty said: “The Tory government’s cuts mean our housing services and those of our partner organisations in the city are under incredible pressure. The route that the government are intent on following is myopic and damaging.

“Homelessness and rough sleeping are on the rise, and more people are at risk of falling in arrears."

In his letter to Pickles, Cllr Kitcat wrote: "Analysis demonstrates that Brighton & Hove is the worst affected area in our region - disproportionately affected in comparison to our near neighbours.

“The Government recognises our city's growth potential and we are often cited as supporting a resilient and innovative economy; yet our efforts are apparently being stymied by the demonstrable impact of cuts to funding.

"We appear to have been singled out despite our efforts to nurture growth and our ability to provide for even the most vulnerable is now being severely hampered.

"It is now a matter of fact that cuts are having a measurable and negative impact not only on the most vulnerable, but on the economy as a whole.”

Cllr Kitcat has requested a meeting with Pickles to discuss the matter.

Cllr Mac Cafferty added: "We’re working our hardest, but the government is making it as difficult as possible.

“Our message is clear to the Tory Government: stop hacking away at the public sector and throwing public money into the black hole that is quantitative easing. We say that the Government should instead invest in a national house-building and retrofitting programme which will boost the economy, provide training, apprenticeships and employment and tackle our national housing crisis.”