Housing Benefit Changes May Increase Homelessness

MPs announced that the government will from now on monitor closely the effects of the declared benefits cut for people in social housing who have a spare bedroom.

This move will affect about 660,000 people who use social housing.  This means a 14% cut in housing benefit for people with a spare room and a 25% cut for those who have two or more rooms.

However, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should watch carefully the results and act swiftly if rent arrears and homelessness do increase.

People with low income will suffer most as the £14 they will lose each week will have a strong effect over their lives.

First of April is the date that the changes will start functioning, reducing the housing benefit bill and free up larger homes for people in need.

Statistics made by a number of housing associations pointed out that people would rather choose to take the financial hit staying in their current homes than moving to another place.

According to Margaret Hodge, chair of the PAC, the DWP therefore has to do something in response to the increases in homelessness and rents.

“At the time of our hearing, far too many of those who stand to be directly affected were worryingly unaware of the reforms and what they will mean for their finances,” she said.

She also added that DWP did not take into account the administrative costs when announcing the potential £6.2bn savings of the change.

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