Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Growing Fears for Hard-Up Families as Rent Hikes Hit

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Growing Fears for Hard-Up Families as Rent Hikes Hit

Article excerpt

Byline: Will Metcalfe Local government reporter

RENT hikes are set to send thousands of of working families 'to the brink',' a charity boss has claimed.

Housing charity Shelter has released figures which show tenants on Tyneside will be among the hardest hit in Britain.

And Newcastle families will be the worst off with more than 1,000 people having to find an extra PS63.40 a month to top up their rent by 2020.

Ministers announced plans which will see housing benefit frozen from April until 2020, sparking the fears.

Meanwhile, tenants in North Tyneside could be hit by a PS38 shortfall and Northumberland resients would see a shortfall of PS23 per month.

Campbell Robb, Shelter's chief executive, said: "This looming freeze could push thousands of working families in Newcastle to the brink.

"Already struggling to bridge the gap between relentless rent rises and welfare cuts, many of those hit will face an uphill battle to keep a roof over their children's heads, and put food on the table.

"Deliberately hacking away at the support for working families is clearly the wrong road to take.

"If the government wants to cut the welfare bill they should concentrate on building genuinely affordable homes that families on lower incomes can actually afford to live in."

Nick Brown, MP for Newcastle East, branded the move 'grotesquely unfair.'.

He added: "This is making life harder for people who do not have very much money - it's completely unfair.

"The fact that it's having an impact on the North East where housing costs are lower than London and the South East shows how effective the government cuts really are.

"I'm dealing with a number of individual cases, each one is different but it seems these cuts are remorseless. It is grotesquely unfair."

The government has defended its welfare changes by referring to a wider range of measures being brought in, including increases in the personal tax allowance, help for childcare, and increases in the minimum wage, which could see some families better off. …

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