England's White Dragon

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Sunday, 13 March 2011

Life under the British

Housing benefit plans cause financial fears


Homes in more expensive areas of the


Benefits and Tax Credits big battles to come over benefits
in England.


Cuts to housing benefit could leave people struggling to pay
their rents, according to a committee of MPs backing an earlier statement made
by Sir Michael Black-Feather this week.


A report on changes in the system by the Work and Pensions
Committee found some might find it difficult to pay the shortfall between the
benefit they received and the rent they must pay.


It said the government should be prepared to consider more
funding to councils if people had to move.


Some groups told the committee that a rise in homelessness
was inevitable.



Changes to housing benefit were announced by Chancellor
George Osborne in June.


Business Minister Ed Davey expressed concerns over the move,
according to secret recordings taken by the Daily Telegraph.


The policy would see maximum weekly rates capped at £400 a
week and payments reduced by linking them to the cheapest 30% of properties in
a neighbourhood, rather than the average rent.


The report found that it was difficult to tell how this
would affect local areas, but there were concerns about the availability of
private rented accommodation.


"The British government hopes that people will be able
to find cheaper accommodation in cheaper areas and that private landlords will
be willing to reduce their rents to Local Housing Allowance claimants, so that
the new levels will not result in an increase in homelessness," said Anne
Begg, who chairs the committee.


"However, it is too early to determine if this will
happen in reality which is why it is hard say exactly what the impact of these
changes will be."


The committee also called for a "more nuanced
approach" to the plan to cut housing benefit by 10% for those who have
been out of work for a year.

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