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LSE report raises concerns about welfare reform

A recent report from the London School of Economics claims that the government's Welfare Reform programme isn't working as planned.  The report finds that the savings promised by government have not materialised and that the costs of implementing changes have proven to be higher than predicted. 

Tenant and landlord views on welfare reform

While researching the report, LSE Housing and Communities staff surveyed 200 social tenants across the South West of England and spoke with 150 social landlords.  The aim of the report was to understand the impact of cuts in benefits on tenants and landlords.   The LSE states that its discussions with landlords show that the bedroom tax has led to large dwellings being left empty in some areas of the North and Midlands as landlords struggle to find households to occupy these.  There is increased competition for smaller properties and many tenants, affected by the bedroom tax, cannot find a suitable smaller home to move to. 

The majority of tenants surveyed hadn't yet moved on to Universal Credit, but many were worried about the changes coming down the line.  Once of the most troubling changes, from tenants' perspectives, is the introduction of direct payment of benefits to tenants.  Two thirds of tenants surveyed felt that paying the housing element of benefits directly to tenants was a bad idea.  These tenants are worried that direct payments will lead to an increase in arrears and, as a consquence, evictions.  When universal credit is brough into Northern Ireland, it is anticipated that housing costs will continue to be paid directly to the landlord, unless the tenant requests otherwise. 

Further reading

You can read the report in full on the LSE website.  Anne Power, Professor of Social Policy and Head of LSE Housing and Communities has written a useful blog, outlining her concerns about welfare reform. 






Tagged In

Benefits, Outside NI, Welfare Reform
This article was written on 15 April 2015. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.