Londoners 'to be hit hardest by welfare reforms'
A London Councils report says changes — including the “bedroom tax”, the benefit cap and the abolition of council tax benefit — will hit the capital’s claimants hardest. The shake-up could leave some facing losses of nearly £200 a week.
It says the impact will be exacerbated by rising rental costs in London and predicts further problems as large numbers of claimants move from central districts to cheaper boroughs such as Newham, Enfield and Barnet.
The report, which criticises ministers for failing to take account of London’s unique circumstances, says that councils are trying to minimise the impact on claimants by offering job, budgeting, “downsizing” and other advice. But it warns that some will be unable, or unwilling, to adjust and will be forced into homelessness as a result.
Announcing today’s findings, Sir Steve Bullock, the Mayor of Lewisham and London Councils’ spokesman on housing, said: “For some ordinary families with two children looking for work their benefit could drop £183 per week, while an identical family in Manchester would be unaffected.”
The report says the biggest impact on Londoners will be the abolition of the national council tax benefit system. It is being replaced by a council administered fund 10 per cent lower in value.
Nine authorities in London are absorbing this drop but the remainder are reducing sums paid, affecting an estimated 456,000 recipients. The report says the benefit cap, which restricts the total sum paid to £500 a week, will also affect 27,000 households in London. It predicts that up to 80,000 claimants will be hit by the “bedroom tax” which penalises those with spare rooms.
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