New figures reveal areas hardest hit by housing benefit cuts

New figures reveal areas hardest hit by housing benefit cuts

By staff writers
12 Aug 2010

The Government announced cuts of £1.8 billion to housing benefit in its emergency Budget soon after coming to power. According to an impact assessment by the Department of Work and Pensions, almost a million households reliant on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) - the form of housing benefit paid to tenants in the private rented sector - will be affected. On average, over £600 a year will be lost from some of the poorest households in the country.

These cuts will leave tenants falling into rent arrears and increasing debt or being forced to leave their homes and at worst, becoming homeless.

The local authorities with the highest numbers of households affected are spread across the UK:

18,870 households in Birmingham
15,610 in Leeds
12,620 in Liverpool
12,550 in Brighton
12,420 in Blackpool
11,180 in Cornwall
10,470 in Bradford
10,210 in Manchester
9,660 in City of Edinburgh
9,650 in Brent

Leslie Morphy, the Chief Executive of Crisis, said: "The Government promised that in cutting the deficit it would protect the most vulnerable, but these figures show that thousands of those who are in greatest need will have their income hit when they can least afford it. Far from hitting just expensive areas in London, these cuts will have a massive impact across the nation, including on households in areas which rank amongst the most deprived in the country.

"As vulnerable private tenants see their income slashed they will inevitably fall into rent arrears or debt and face the spectre of homelessness. The Government must totally rethink these cuts now.

"Not only would a surge in homelessness cause damage for generations to come, it is also counter-productive. The costs to society of somebody who has lost their home are huge compared to keeping someone in accommodation."

[Ekk/4]

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