Recent News

Government delays roll out of benefits cap

The household benefits cap will be trialled in four London boroughs before being rolled out nationally over the summer.

The Department for Work and Pensions announced yesterday that the cap will apply in just four London council areas from April, rather than applying to all households across the country immediately as expected. 

MP proposes 'Welfare Cash Cards' for Universal Credit

A Conservative MP has called for the introduction of 'Welfare Cash Cards' on which benefits would be paid, enabling claimants to make only priority purchases such as food, clothing, energy, travel and housing costs.

Alec Shelbrooke, Conservative MP for Elmet and Rothwell, said the cards - which would prevent the purchasing of luxury items like cigarettes, alcohol, sky television and gambling - would support the introduction of Universal Credit.  

Housing benefit direct payment trials report rent arrears

Landlords testing direct payment of benefit failed to collect 8 per cent of rent on average in the first four months of the six pilot projects.

Data released today by the Department for Work and Pensions showed 6,220 tenants across Great Britain were paid directly in the first four months of the projects. Of these, 92 per cent of rent was collected on average overall, meaning arrears were around double the normal figure. A total of 316 tenants have been switched back to payment of benefit to the landlord. 

One policy needed for housing benefit tenants

Now the facts are before us, politicians can no longer hide behind myth and conjecture. If any doubt remained over whether the era of Britain as a nation of homeowners is over, this week's census results provided final confirmation.

For the first time in decades home ownership is in decline, falling from 69% to 64% of all households. We can expect it to have fallen further by the next census in 2021 (if the fact-finding exercise survives government spending cuts) as Generation Rent reaches middle age. 

England's top eviction 'hotspots' revealed

England's top 15 eviction 'hotspots' are all in London, according to research published today by Shelter.

Figures released by the housing charity show that in the 12 months to September 2012, 198,470 households have been threatened with losing their home, leaving one in every 115 households at risk of becoming homeless. This equates to cities the size of Liverpool or Bristol being evicted or repossessed. 

Housing benefit cut for under-25s still being discussed

Despite being left out of chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement, it appears the Government is still thinking about cutting the automatic right for under-25s to claim housing benefit.

Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said in Parliament this week that there is still a discussion and debate going on in Government but that "more work is required". The Liberal Democrats have said they would oppose any such move. 

Labour to review direct payment of housing benefit to tenants

Housing benefit payments could be paid direct to private landlords to encourage longer term tenancies and stable rents for families in the private sector, following a Labour party policy review.

Under the coalition government's welfare reforms, housing benefit payments will be paid to tenants under the universal credit system which will begin to be rolled out next year, and marks a significant departure from the current arrangement in which many tenants receiving housing benefits have it paid directly to landlords. 

Labour Party to fight latest welfare cuts

Labour looks set to oppose the welfare cuts announced in the autumn statement.

Chancellor George Osborne announced last week that increases in local housing allowance rates, used to calculate housing benefit for private renters, will rise at 1 per cent instead of in line with inflation for two years from April. Rises in other working age benefits, including jobseeker’s allowance and tax credits, will also be capped at 1 per cent. 

Landlords concerned over new benefit caps

While welcoming plans to drop the scrapping of housing benefit for the under 25s, housing associations are "deeply concerned" around proposals to cap working age benefit increases at 1% for the next three years, as announced by chancellor Geroge Osborne yesterday.

According to the Autumn Statement document the below inflation rise will apply to Jobseeker’s Allowance; Employment and Support Allowance; Income Support; applicable amounts for Housing Benefit; Maternity Allowance; Statutory Sick Pay; Statutory Maternity Pay; Statutory Paternity Pay; and Statutory Adoption Pay.

However, the move has concerend landlords who fear it could push 

Welfare budget under spotlight today

The welfare budget is set to come under further assault today as chancellor George Osborne delivers his Autumn Statement.

As part of the statement, the Government is expected to provide an update on its economic plans based on the latest forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility. 

Housing Benefit fraud and error costing £1.1 billion

Over a billion pounds worth of Housing Benefit expenditure was lost to fraud and official error between April 2011 and March 2012, new figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have revealed.

The DWP's statistics show that total overpayments due to fraud and error across the entire benefits system was £3.4 billion, or 2.1% of the total spend of £159.2 billion. 

George Osborne under pressure to axe housing benefit cut

Pressure is mounting on the chancellor to axe plans to cut housing benefit for under 25s, with some reports suggesting the move has already been shelved.

A study published today by umbrella group Homeless Link says welfare cuts are already increasing the chances of young people becoming homeless. And yesterday a Yougov poll commissioned by single homelessness charity Crisis found 57 per cent of people are opposed to cutting housing benefit for under 25s.