Debate on Housing Benefit PDF Print E-mail

16.11.10

 

Despite IMF warnings, Labour spent the money and left the UK’s banking system the most exposed to sub prime borrowing.

The IMF has now described the UK Coalition’s deficit reduction plan as ‘essential’.

 

Housing benefit  expenditure has  ballooned over the last decade from  £11 Billion to £20 Billion, over three times more than we pay for policing  - with expenditure on  working aged recipients doubling to £14 Billion.

 

Without reform, total expenditure is forecast to react £25 Billion in five years time – and the need to tackle the record deficit makes reform even more pressing. 

Like Labour, our Amendment notes the need for a fairer system.

 

Both and Alastair Darling and Yvette Cooper admitted that Housing benefit was out of control.

 

Labour’s UK Manifesto written by Ed Miliband said  – and Labour has said it backs the principles behind the UK Government’s changes.

 

 

The measures announced will take steps to ensure that people on benefit are not living in accommodation that would be out of the reach of most people in work, creating a fairer system for low-income working families and for the taxpayer.



 

The proposed cap is equivalent to a gross annual salary of £80,000 per annum.

The proposals will change the  Local Housing Allowance rate so the maximum is for a  four bedroom property.

Up to nine people spanning 3 generations live in my 4 bedroom house – we chose to have a large family and we live in the home we can afford.

 

8% of individuals receive housing benefit in Wales.

Of these, 187,400 Housing benefit recipients in Wales are unaffected. 

Although only 22% of the 48,500 in Wales who will be affected are officially unemployed, the majority fall into the additional half a million working aged people, but not in work in Wales. 

 

Many of these are people who are registered as disabled, who want to work but are prevented by barriers including the current tax and benefit system.  

That is why the “Universal Credit: Welfare that Works” White Paper, proposes that the highest Marginal Deduction Rate for low-earning workers would be reduced from around 96 per cent to 65 per cent for those earning below the personal tax threshold and to around 76 per cent for basic rate taxpayers.

 

The current system locks too many into dependency on the state

The real issue is helping people on a journey back on to their feet – rewarding people on their journey onwards and upwards

At least one local authority is responding to this in England by adopting the “let’s-help-residents-on-their-journey-back-onto-their-feet” approach.

As they state “if you look at the poorest households, they are not people on housing benefit, but those on low paid work, whose income is far below the income levels of those on benefits and will never be enough to afford a mortgage or pay private sector rents”.

 

As we heard in evidence to the Communities and Culture Committee last week “we need to build better relationships and links between Local Authorities, letting Agents and Private Sector Landlords to prepare for and manage the changes”.

 

Cymorth Cymru has rightly called for persons in supported homelessness schemes to be protected.

 

The UK Government has:

-         announced the inclusion of an additional bedroom within the size criteria used to assess Housing Benefit claims in the private rented sector where a disabled person or someone with a long term health condition has a proven need for overnight care and this is provided by a non-resident carer.

-         Completed an equality impact assessment which found that, taking all the measures this does not show a disproportionate impact on anyone group

-         Announced that it will be working with Devolved Governments and Local Authorities to assess the wider impact on their housing functions.

-         Will announce that it will publish a full impact assessment when Legislation is laid before Parliament

-         Stated that people with mental Health issues will not lose benefit if they refuse to work

-         And announced a tripling in its contribution to Local Authorities Funding for Discretionary Housing Payments to provide additional support where it is most needed.

 

 

We therefore need the Welsh Government to replace endless political point scoring with positive engagement with Westminster.

 

After all, Wales has a housing crisis because of policy failure and cuts over the last 11 years, by Labour led devolved  Government.

 

 

Promoted by Mark Isherwood AM at National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

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