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Welfare changes to increase homelessness

Welfare changes to increase homelessness (Refuge / Emergency Accommodation)

by administrator @, Monday, July 25, 2011, 14:48

Benefit reforms will increase homelessness in Stoke on Trent and lead to an exodus of private landlords, a report has found.

The Citizens Advice Bureau in the midlands city, and charity Brighter Futures, produced a report, Making welfare work for Stoke On Trent, as a response to the Welfare Reform Bill, which is currently going through parliament.

The government is planning to up rate local housing allowance, which is paid to private renters, in line with the consumer price index instead of the higher retail price index to save £290 million by 2014. The report says, as CPI is not linked to housing costs, LHA rates will ‘become less and less realistic’.

‘Overall this change is likely to create an exodus of private landlords prepared to supply accommodation to LHA claimants and thus to reduce the income available for the improvements and repairs necessary in the private rented stock,’ it states.

‘This in turn will increase the demand for social housing which cannot be met by current development plans.’

The report says Stoke will be hit particularly hard to the welfare reforms because it has high levels of unemployment, limited types of jobs, low wages, low house prices, and poor educational and health outcomes.

The recommends the council set up an anti-poverty partnership with public, private and voluntary organisations to monitor the effects of the changes.

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