Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Archive for the ‘Housing Benefit’ Category

Universal Credit: 70% Rise in Severe Rent Arrears.

Rent arrears for Tenants - How to avoid them - Slater & Brandley

Steep Rise in Arrears Amongst Universal Credit Claimants.

Rough sleeping remains a problem.

A day out with Derby’s rough sleepers and homeless people Derbyshire Live. October the 13th 2021.

Derby’s rough sleepers have complex problems

There are many initiatives to help with this ( How Ipswich is breaking the cycle of homelessness) , though doubtless not enough given the deep rooted causes of homelessness and the years of government neglect and a benefit system not fit to deal with people’s needs.

It looks as if more of those on benefits, are threatened with homelessness (which does not mean we will see all of them on the streets).

The cause is not their “complex problems”.

A few days ago Welfare Weekly carried this story,

Universal Credit: Homelessness fears as figures show a 70% surge in severe rent arrears.

New Government figures published today (Wednesday) reveal a 70% increase over six months in the number of renters on Universal Credit who are struggling with severe rent arrears.

The figures reveal that 190,000 low-income renters on Universal Credit in England are at least two or more months behind on their rent, with a leading homeless charity warning that a growing number of families teetering on the “brink of homelessness”.

This is striking,

Housing Benefit rates (and the housing costs component of Universal Credit) have been frozen since April this year. This means the rents are no longer linked to market rents, at a time when families and individuals up and down the country are struggling to cope with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Story got coverage:

The Stop Mass Homelessness campaign, led by Big Issue founder Lord Bird, launched in July this year in response to spiralling debts and soaring poverty which threatens to push thousands into homelessness this autumn.

“We are literally adding fuel to the fire,” he said in response to soaring energy bills and rising poverty. “We need to keep people in their homes, or face the costly reality of a mass homelessness crisis as people are forced to choose between paying the rent or the bills.”

And, in full circle, we come back to rough sleeping:

Written by Andrew Coates

October 16, 2021 at 9:28 am

Homelessness Expected to Rise as Universal Credit Boost Ends.

Rough Sleeping and Homelessness in Exeter - Exeter City Council News

Avalanche’ of homelessness expected as furlough and Universal Credit boost end

More people are at risk of homelessness now than at any time in living memory,” Bird said. By Charlene Rodrigues

homelessness will rise this autumn as furlough and Universal Credit schemes are set to end in September, The Big Issue has warned.

The Big Issue writes:

There are 564,000 people in rent arrears, 190,000 owner-occupied homes in financial difficulty, 4.3 million people are behind on household bills.

Our research also found a shocking statistic. In the first quarter of 2021, there were 632 mortgage repossessions and rental evictions. This means that a household was made homeless on average every three-and-a-half hours.

Since the first lockdown last year, we have supported steps to protect and prevent people losing their income. As the furlough scheme ends and the eviction ban lifts, we are approaching a cliff edge that could see unprecedented numbers of people being made homeless through no fault of their own.

For three decades we have fought for people who have lost their homes and now we really need to step it up.

This week we launch our Stop Mass Homelessness campaign with the aim to prevent the immediate threat of mass homelessness and invest for the future.

We are making simple demands of government:

  • Pay off £360m in rent arrears
  • Suspend no-fault evictions until a Renters’ Reform Act is passed
  • Make permanent the £20 Universal Credit uplift
  • Improve access to Discretionary Housing Payment and unfreeze Local Housing Allowance

To address long-term challenges we also call for:

  • A Future Generations Act to end short-term thinking of government policy
  • Expand social housing and encourage innovative ways to increase housing stock
  • Improve support for financial  literacy education
  • Increase support for ethical property and letting firms
  • Invest to create new green jobs

UK parliaments back continued universal credit boost

The £20 a week increase in Universal Credit should be permanent, according to senior politicians from across the UK.

In a letter, the chairs of four welfare committees from around the UK say removing the temporary top-up would affect families on the lowest incomes.

And sources have also told the BBC that Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey supported keeping the uplift.

The government insists the extra £20 is a short-term measure ending in October.

The letter calling for the top-up to be made permanent was signed by the chairs of committees at Westminster, the Scottish Parliament, Senedd in Wales and Northern Ireland Assembly.

The joint letter from the four committee chairs of the UK’s four parliaments is thought to be a first.

It is signed by Labour’s Stephen Timms at Westminster, the SNP’s Neil Gray for Holyrood, Paula Bradley of the DUP for Stormont and Welsh Labour’s Jenny Rathbone at the Senedd in Cardiff.

They say: “Ending the uplift would mean that the six million people claiming Universal Credit will lose £1,040 in annual income overnight.

“The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has estimated that removing the uplift would force 500,000 people, including 200,000 children, into poverty.

“Families on the lowest incomes, those with children and particularly single parents, BAME families, and families where someone is disabled are disproportionately affected.”

They also call for the extra £20 a week to be extended to people on legacy benefits – which were created before universal credit.

They warn the chancellor and Ms Coffey: “You also risk removing this support from families at the very time unemployment is expected to peak, as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to an end.”

Written by Andrew Coates

July 21, 2021 at 11:25 am

As Covid Protection Eviction Ban Ends Private Renters Face Uncertain Future.

Image

Private renters in England on ‘cliff edge’ as eviction ban ends

Almost two million private renters fear they will be unable to find another property if they lose their home after the eviction ban is lifted, ministers are being warned.

With the ban coming to an end this week, the government is facing demands for emergency legislation to increase the permanent protection for those struggling to pay their rent as a result of the Covid pandemic. Councils are also warning of a “cliff edge” of homelessness in the months ahead unless action is taken, with a potential £2.2bn bill for the state.

Private renters are those most at risk at the end of the ban, which has been repeatedly extended amid concerns about the build-up of rent arrears during the crisis. Among private renters in England who are worried about losing their home and who are already cutting back on heating and food to pay rent, 72% are worried they will be unable to find another home in the future. The finding, from a study by homelessness charity Shelter, equates to about 1.9 million privately renting adults.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 30, 2021 at 12:08 pm

Posted in DWP, Housing Benefit, Welfare State

Tagged with ,

As Local Housing Allowance is Frozen DWP Minister Thérèse Coffey Gets £1,885 for her London Pied à Terre.

Robert Goodwill's visit to Scotland and Minister Coffey's visit to  Salisbury pub re-opening - Defra in the media

Coffey Celebrates Nice Little Earner for Tory MPs.

Tory MPs claim almost £3m in housing rent on expenses

Welfare secretary Thérèse Coffey, whose department runs the LHA system, claimed £1,885 a month.

Revelation comes at same time as government freezes housing allowance, which could drive many tenants into debt.

A spokesperson for tenants’ union Acorn said: “To commit to this [LHA] freeze at the same time as huge swathes of the government’s own MPs are claiming extortionate amounts on expenses to pay rent on second homes is disgraceful and perfectly demonstrates the contempt with which they treat low-income people in this country – particularly given many of these MPs are claiming these expenses for second homes at the same time as raking in profit from homes they are renting out to tenants, while already taking home salaries far beyond what most people could ever imagine.”

The Tory MP claiming the highest rent expenses is Helen Whately, minister for social care. Despite earning £113,612 as an MP and minister, she claimed £3,250 in housing rent from the taxpayer each month between April and November 2020 – £26,000 in total during those eight months.

If Whately claims £3,250 a month for the whole of 2020/21, she will receive £39,000 towards her rent during the financial year. This is higher than the estimated average annual pay of her constituents, the average full-time earnings in the UK, the average nurse’s salary – and over double the average full-time care worker’s pay in 2019/20.

Suffolk Coastal, Coffey’s Constituency, is within commuting range of London.

This is the background:

Benefits system increasing homelessness in London, research finds.

A report from Homeless Link, titled Homelessness and welfare benefits in London, found that both the frozen Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and the benefit cap mean people claiming benefits cannot afford the housing that is available in the capital.

The report notes that the number of single people claiming Universal Credit in London increased by 88% between March, when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the UK, and August last year.

Meanwhile, an analysis found that 24 of the 32 boroughs in London do not have enough shared private rented accommodation to house those claiming the housing element of Universal Credit or housing benefit.

Across those 24 boroughs, only 54% of shared private rented accommodation would be affordable to those claiming benefits for their housing, the analysis found.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, chancellor Rishi Sunak reversed a multiyear freeze on the LHA rate, which determines how much housing benefit private renters receive, to ensure benefits covered the lowest third of rents in a local area.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 11, 2021 at 12:31 pm

Freeze on Local Housing Allowance to Hit Low-waged and Claimants.

Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance (LHA) in UK | DNS Accountants

Tories Ready to Throw Us Out of our Gaffs.

This really struck me yesterday.

Coming originally from London, and having many friends there, people talk all the time about the sky-high rents from the thieves, sorry, landlords. Someone I know spends nearly half her salary on funding the lifestyle of these idlers. Hell knows how you can get by if you’re on Universal Credit or Legacy Benefits.

When I had a gaff down Kentish Town in the 1970s we paid about a quarter of our wages in rent.

 

Benefits freeze will leave tenants across Britain facing rent arrears of £1,000

Guardian.

Low-income tenants across much of Britain will be left hundreds of pounds worse off from next month due to the government quietly imposing a real-terms cut in housing benefit, the Observer can reveal.

From April, the government is freezing the amount of local housing allowance (LHA), meaning tenants will receive the same amount of money as last financial year, even where rents have gone up. LHA is paid to tenants in privately rented homes, including those on universal credit.

In some parts of the country, tenants are set to lose more than £1,000 a year as a result of a combination of rising rents and the new benefit freeze, Observer analysis of government data shows. Those tenants affected will have to find the money from elsewhere, or else face growing rent arrears.

There is already evidence of an arrears crisis, with Citizens Advice estimating that half a million private tenants are behind on rent. The ban on most evictions, imposed at the start of the pandemic, was extended last week to the end of May.

“The freeze to LHA rates is yet another example of the government abandoning tenants – this will force many out of the private sector and on to the streets, and will force many more to choose between feeding their families and paying their rent,” said Nick Ballard, head organiser of tenants’ union Acorn.

Now this is the Tories’ responsibility, and specifically fat boy Eric Pickles who when not eating babies, introduced the ‘local’ Housing Allowance,  but I can’t help remembering this:

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

March 15, 2021 at 11:10 am