Housing benefit ‘savings considered by ministers’
By Michael Buchanan
Social Affairs Correspondent, BBC News
2 July 2015
From the section UK
Ministers are considering forcing all housing benefit recipients to contribute towards their rent as part of efforts to save £12bn from the welfare bill, government sources say.
Housing benefit currently can cover the full cost of rent.
The chancellor is also understood to be pushing for the cap on all benefits to be lowered from £26,000 to £20,000 outside London and south-east England.
It was previously announced the cap would be cut to £23,000 across the UK.
It is understood that other proposals to abolish or severely restrict the carer’s allowance have been dropped after opposition from the prime minister.
A government spokesman said it would not comment on speculation about next Wednesday’s Budget.
Since winning the election, officials and ministers have struggled to find £12bn in savings – a key Conservative manifesto commitment.
Details of how all the savings will be made are likely to be spread between the Budget and the Autumn Statement.
Housing benefit is thought to be an obvious target as costs have been rising in recent years, to £25bn last year.
The average weekly housing benefit payment is £93.
If, for instance, ministers made claimants pay 10%, they would have to find about £9.30 a week to ensure their rent is paid in full.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has calculated that this would save £2.5bn if applied to both the social and private rental sector.
Samantha Ashby is a single mother of three – two teenage boys and girl of five – from south-east London, who currently gets all her rent paid by housing benefit.
“I’ve been unemployed since I was pregnant with my daughter. I used to work somewhere but I’ve had my daughter since then and I’m unable to work.
“The relationship with their father has broken down so he moved out and I’ve basically been on my own. …read more
Source:: BBC UK