Magazine article Public Finance

Housing Benefit Cuts 'Will Intensify Social Problems'

Magazine article Public Finance

Housing Benefit Cuts 'Will Intensify Social Problems'

Article excerpt

Restricting the housing benefit available to long-term unemployed people will fuel wider social problems, campaigners have said.

In his Budget speech, Chancellor George Osborne said the housing benefit system was in 'dire need' of reform.

'Costs are completely out of control. We now spend more on housing benefit than we do on the police and on universities combined,' he said.

A number of cost-saving measures will come into effect, producing annual savings of £1.8bn by the end of the Parliament. These include a 10% cut in housing benefit from April 2013 for people who have claimed Jobseekers Allowance for more than 12 months.

From next April there will be maximum limits on housing benefit payments, from £250 a week for a one-bedroom property up to a maximum of £400 a week for properties with four bedrooms or more.

Helen Williams, assistant director for neighbourhoods at the National Housing Federation, said cuts to housing benefit for jobless people would cause hardship. …

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