Recent News

Universal Credit a 'potential poverty trap'

Universal Credit (UC) has major flaws that will need to be addressed to avoid becoming a potential poverty trap, a new report has concluded.

Whilst recognising the need for reform of the benefits system, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's (JRF) report highlights concerns whether UC will actually increase incentives to work and reduce the complexity of the current system. 

Housing Minister: ‘private sector rents have fallen’

The housing minister Mark Prisk says private sector rents have fallen in real terms, despite evidence to suggest they are soaring across the country – and increasing the housing benefit bill.

Mr Prisk – who took on the role of housing minister in September – made the remark earlier this month in a written parliamentary answer to Conservative MP Richard Fuller’s query on the impact of local housing allowance (LHA) caps. 

Vince Cable - Two-child benefit cap ‘not acceptable’

Business secretary Vince Cable has said the Liberal Democrats will not support Iain Duncan Smith’s calls to cap child-related benefits to families with two children.

Mr Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, said yesterday morning – ahead of a speech at the Cambridge Public Policy think tank – that families claiming child-related benefits may find the amount they are entitled to capped at two children. 

Why renting to housing benefit tenants makes sense

Talk to any landlord or letting agent and they're likely to have strong opinions about renting properties to people claiming housing benefit. Whichever side of the fence you sit, accepting tenants who rely on help from the government to pay their rent remains a contentious issue.

Stereotyping still exists and is, quite frankly, appalling. We should be horrified by the lack of respect, understanding and common decency that people claiming benefits face daily. 

Under DWP new rules Jobseekers to lose benefits for 3 years

The DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) has introduced new rules that will see jobseekers who repeatedly turn down work have their benefits stopped for three years.

Until now, jobseekers who failed to actively seek work could have their payments stopped for up to six months. The DWP claims that jobcentre staff were forced to sanction 495,000 claimants last year, 72,000 of which refused an offer of employment. 

Private landlord in Newham is hit with record fine

A landlord has been hit with a record fine of £27,400 in the borough which is bringing in blanket landlord licensing of all 35,000 private rental properties in its patch from January 1.

Newnham Council in London brought the prosecution after tenants, including children, were said to have been discovered living in a slum. 

86% increase in workers claiming housing benefit as rents soar

There has been an 86% increase in workers claiming housing benefit in the last three years as private rents across England soar, according to a new report. 

Analysing the latest Government figures, the National Housing Federation’s (NHF) Home Truths report warns that the number of working housing benefit claimants, currently 903,440 of the 5.03 million caseload (as of May 2012), is rising by 10,000 more people every month. 

Working with the PRS and why councils don’t have to re-invent the wheel

Ask any housing advice or homelessness officer what the most common question is that they get asked, apart from “Can I have a council house please?” and you will usually find it is “Do you know any landlords or agents who take DSS?”

In London at the moment there are between 5 and 9 people chasing every rental property. Although figures vary, depending on who you read what isn’t in dispute is the fact that landlords don’t have any problems finding tenants and can rent properties perfectly happily without councils, and yet councils need landlords to meet the massive demand for housing. 

Pros and cons of letting to tenants on housing benefit

DSS tenants get a bad press - often unfairly so. Here are the advantages, and disadvantages, to renting to this type of tenant.

Key points:

1. According to research, DSS tenants stay in properties for twice as long compared with non-DSS ones.
2. You can apply to the council to get housing benefit paid directly to your account if you have a good reason (like a failed credit check).
3. It can be harder to evict a DSS tenant. 

Prime Minister 'standing up for wrong people' in benefit cuts row

Prime Minister David Cameron has been accused accused of "standing up for the wrong people" as charities warned that up to half a million disabled people and their families - including children and disabled adults living on their own - will be worse off under Universal Credit.

This, at the same time the Government was handing "huge tax cuts to 8,000 people earning over £1 million a year" from next April, according to a Labour MP. 

Fear that bedroom tax will hurt disabled tenants

Peers have raised concerns about the impact of the bedroom tax on disabled people – and said discretionary housing payments will do little to help the problem.

Peers debated the housing benefit regulations in the House of Lords on Tuesday. The regulations introduce the bedroom tax, which will see an estimated 660,000 social housing tenants with spare rooms docked an average of £14 per week in housing benefit. The government estimates the policy will save £500 million a year. 

Universal Credit: The benefit cut for workers

A Labour MP has hit out at plans to dock the benefits of workers under Universal Credit which he says has almost “escaped notice”.

Michael Meacher, Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton, was citing research by the Resolution Foundation – published earlier this month – which estimates that nearly 1.2 million working adults will face losing some of their benefits under Universal Credit if they do not comply with new requirements to work longer hours, find an additional job or seek higher wages. 

Osborne vows to cut £10bn from welfare benefits

In the Tory Conference this week, George Osborne announced the welfare budget was to be cut in order to try and lift the UK out of the recession.

Housing benefits came under fire from prime minster David Cameron, who stated that housing benefit claimants were living in properties that other workers could only dream of.  

Tory MP outlines plans to stop under-25s claiming housing benefit

Plans to stop under-25s claiming housing benefit would not affect anyone coming out of care or fleeing domestic violence, a parliamentary aide has clarified.

Yesterday chancellor George Osborne announced the Conservative Party’s intentions to make a further £10bn savings on welfare by 2016, which is understood to feature the under-25s restriction and also the end to the automatic right of benefit increases for unemployed families having more children.