The Government has announced that it is dropping plans for a 10% cut in housing benefit for anyone out of work (in receipt of JSA) for more than a year.
The proposed cut appeared in the June emergency budget, but is no longer part of the Welfare Reform Bill published in Parliament by Iain Duncan Smith today. While the Government had supported the proposal on the basis that it would provide an incentive to find a job, Homeless Link and other organisations held that this proposal was clearly unfair as it would have applied to claimants whether or not they were making efforts to look for or move towards work and regardless of whether or not there were jobs available to them.
Jenny Edwards, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, the national network for charities supporting homeless and vulnerable people, said,
“We have campaigned long and hard for this proposal to be removed from the Welfare Reform Bill alongside our members and other key players in the housing and homelessness sector. We are delighted, therefore, that the proposal has been withdrawn. It would have increased the risk of homelessness for many individuals, regardless of their commitment to seek work. For homeless people, who are already living at the margins, facing this additional penalty would have been very damaging and potentially might have pushed them back to the streets. We therefore welcome the Government's rethink and willingness to listen to the case made.
We will continue to campaign to ensure that the proposals contained in the Welfare Bill will offer protection and support to those who are most vulnerable and homeless.”