Recent News

Over half of tenants know 'hardly anything' about benefit changes

A new study has revealed that more than half (56 percent) of housing associations and almost a third (30 percent) of councils are worried that their tenants still know hardly anything about the government's welfare changes.

The joint research by the Chartered Institute of Housing South West (CIH SW) and the National Housing Federation (NHF) found that of all the reforms, social landlords expect direct payments to have the biggest impact on their tenants. 

Calls for urgent reversal of housing benefit cuts as homelessness rises

Crisis has called on the government to urgently reverse cuts made to housing benefit as new figures reveal a 10 percent rise in homelessness since 2011.

And the official statistics, released by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), show that the number of households accepted as homeless and owed the main homelessness duty over the last two years has risen by 26 percent. 

DWP and Treasury in standoff over £145 million Universal Credit fund

Millions of pounds of funding announced by the Department for Work and Pensions for the creation of budgeting accounts to help benefit claimants adapt to the new Universal Credit regime may not be available after all following intervention from the Treasury.

Last year the DWP announced a £145 million fund to encourage financial services companies to develop new basic banking facilities such as jam jar accounts. 

London Assembly demands 'urgent review' of Universal Credit

The London Assembly has called on the Mayor to launch an "urgent review" of the potential impact on London of the Government’s plans to change the way housing benefits are paid, amid fears that it could lead to an increase in rent arrears and damage the building of new affordable housing.

Assembly Members backed a motion urging Boris Johnson to press the Government for assurances that the introduction of the new Universal Credit – whereby rent would be paid to tenants instead of directly to landlords – would not exacerbate London’s housing crisis. 

Councils have pledged not to evict tenants

Councils that have pledged not to evict tenants who run up arrears as a result of the government’s ‘bedroom tax’ could struggle to keep their promise once universal credit is introduced.

Dundee Council last week agreed that no tenant in arrears due to the under-occupation penalty would be evicted if they are doing what they can to avoid falling behind on payments, and several other councils are considering similar promises. 

Universal credit will fail unless the government can get more people online

Universal credit will fail unless the government can get more people online, a Department for Work and Pensions official has warned.

Mike Shakespeare, who works in stakeholder engagement at the department, told a seminar organised by skills body Digital Unite and social landlord Affinity Sutton last week that digital inclusion work will be vital for the government’s flagship welfare reform policy. 

IDS u-turn on bedroom tax as first exemptions begin

Iain Duncan Smith has declared that foster carers and members of the armed forces will be exempt from the bedroom tax, in a U-turn on the government's forthcoming policy.

In a written ministerial statement, the works and pensions secretary announced that people who are approved foster carers will be allowed an additional 'spare room' whether or not a child has been placed in with them or whether they are between placements. 

Iain Duncan Smith pledges to protect disabled children

The work and pensions secretary has pledged to protect disabled children who will be hit by the bedroom tax.

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Iain Duncan Smith said he would publish guidance tomorrow for local authorities on how to effectively use discretionary housing payments, which are designed to mitigate against the impacts of welfare reform. 

Tenants asked to sign bedroom tax disclaimer

A Liverpool-based housing association is asking tenants to sign forms that say they accept they will be hit with legal action if they don’t pay their rent as a result of the ‘bedroom tax’.

One Vision Housing has sent out documents to 2,900 of its tenants who will be hit by the under-occupation penalty asking that they return them signed, and with a counter signature by a witness. 

DWP sets date for national benefit cap roll-out

The national roll-out of the benefit cap will begin on 15th July, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced today.

Ministers have opted for a phased roll-out of the controversial policy, with benefit cap pilots to start in Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey from April 15, three months before its introduction in all other local authority areas across England, Scotland and Wales. It will be completely implemented by September this year. 

Children launch legal challenge to ‘bedroom tax’

Ten disabled and vulnerable children have launched legal proceedings against work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith to fight penalties for the under-occupation of social housing.

Judicial review proceedings were issued to the High Court on Friday on behalf of the children, who claim the new regulations have failed to take proper account of the needs of vulnerable children and are discriminatory.