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MP: Housing shake-up 'could lead to more evictions'

By Herald Express  |  Posted: June 23, 2011

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MINISTERS have been tackled by Torbay MP Adrian Sanders over changes to the housing benefit rules.

He pressed his Lib-Dem colleague and Work and Pensions Minister Steve Webb over the move to extend the shared accommodation housing benefit rate to single people aged under 35.

Mr Sanders has warned it could lead to evictions and so place a further burden on already over-stretched housing departments.

It has been estimated increasing the age threshold for shared accommodation from 25 to 35 will mean 260,330 people on housing benefit will no longer qualify for their own home.

It forms part of a far-reaching shake-up to cap housing benefit.

Mr Sanders said: "One of the big problems across the board for people aged under 35 is that, because of where they live geographically, or because of medical reasons or their lifestyle, they might simply be unable to reduce their housing costs and share, and therefore could face eviction.

"That would put more pressure on local authority housing departments, which are already under pressure because of the lack of affordable housing."

Responding, Mr Webb said: "Over the next four years we will add a total of £190million to the money going to local authorities.

"Around two thirds of this will be discretionary payments to help just the sort of difficult cases that he mentions, plus other funding for local government to assist them."

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  • DoucheBag2010  |  June 27 2011, 8:56AM

    and perhaps you should stick to what you know and actually GET a job

  • Karen362  |  June 24 2011, 7:33PM

    So 90% of people on housing benefit are abusing their allowance? Let's ask Trish Webster, the outgoing Director of Housing Benefits, to confirm if this is in fact the case? What utter bull! If Douchbag really does work in this sector, perhaps he should identify himself so we can verify what he's saying. This is propaganda, folks. Perhaps Douchbag should start looking for a new job..

  • melezee  |  June 24 2011, 6:26PM

    DuucheBag 2010 If what you say is correct then the housing department is not doing its job, if they know a person is abusing housing benefit by failing to use it to pay rent. The council should make shure that any further HB payments are made direct to the landlord, It is the responsibilty of the council to make sure benefits are not abused. Lets not forget also that there has also been abuse of HB by Landlords. If proper checks are made by council officials a lot of abuse could be stopped. any person who claims a benefits has a history which can be checked. The same with people who cause anti-social behaviour. If 90% of claims are abused in the Torbay district, then someone is not doing their job..

  • DoucheBag2010  |  June 24 2011, 4:07PM

    Theres always going to be an exception, and was once myself on benefits when I had my child. I would say that 90% of Housing Allowance tenants in Torbay abuse their Allowance. I work in this sector and I deal with this issue on a daily basis and that is, sadly, the way it is around here.

  • Karen362  |  June 24 2011, 2:09PM

    Yes but Douchebag, this would mean that fewer single working tenants would get a private tenancy in the first place, given the prejudice towards those on any kind of benefit. Don't forget that most people in part-time and low-waged work now get some form of HB top up or Council Tax refund. Most landlords would rather not know the details because they either hate dealing with or being beholden to the LA or would rather keep up the appearance to friends and neighbours that their tenants are working and legit, even when they are in receipt of a partial rent subsidy or council tax rebate owing to pitifully low wage-scales in the countryside. I am a single graduate in my forties on HB (apart from when I take on seasonal or contract work) and am NEVER in arrears with my rent. I would go without food and heating before I would ever default on my rent. This is why I have a private tenancy when others don't. Why should I be penalised because others live beyond their means? In any case, you'll find that it's largely FAMILIES who fall into arrears because it's harder for them to manage their budgets when they have kids asking for money all the time. Indeed, many FAMILIES have defaulted on their mortgages rather than put their children out on the streets. So, there might be an argument for paying HB direct to the landlord when a FAMILY cannot manage to live within their means. But it would be wrong to implement this across the board. I am sure it would be much more costly for the council to administer, anyway, so would only result in higher council tax bills for everyone. It's a false economy.

  • DoucheBag2010  |  June 24 2011, 12:45PM

    Torbay Council could save hundreds of Thousands in Revenue by simply choosing to pay all Housing Allowance directly to Landlords/Agents straight away, rather than waiting until the tenants are two months in arrears - at this point the eviction proceedings have normally started and the tenant is back on the Councils doorstep getting another months rent a deposit paid for by the Tax Payer on a new property.

  • Karen362  |  June 24 2011, 12:21PM

    I wonder why Ade is suddenly drawing attention to evictions in The Bay now? He's not said anything about this before, despite policies designed to 'repeatably' move jobless people on being established over a number of years. Lest we forget ... a lot of these practises have been institutionally driven all along.

  • dkkat50  |  June 23 2011, 1:31PM

    To say the government will add 190million pounds over 4 YEARS--to help Uk local authorities with housing problems,seems a bit out of touch with the problem ,when they are spending over 40million pounds a MONTH on the UK millitary operations in Libya.

  • melezee  |  June 23 2011, 12:22PM

    The goverment is to busy spending our money sorting out other peoples problems in other countries all over the world. The fact we have a massive housing problem in the Uk ,does not seem to bother them, in fact they are making things a lot worse,leaving it all to the private sector to sort out and make profit from..