Plan readied for Barrow benefits shake-up
Last updated at 15:49, Monday, 11 June 2012
AN action plan has been devised to ensure tenants know how benefit reforms will affect them.
From April 2013, a host of changes are set to be made to the welfare benefits system by the government.
As part of the plans, housing benefits will be scrapped and will be included in a new universal credit scheme.
Barrow Borough Council has prepared a welfare reform action plan to ensure social housing tenants and the council is ready for the changes.
The plan is set to be presented to the council’s housing management forum on Thursday and Jane Coles, business support manager, said in a report for the forum that the overhaul presents a challenge to the council.
She said: “In considering the council’s approach it is important to balance the responsibilities of the council as a landlord and the wellbeing of our tenants.
“While we do not have access to comprehensive income records of all our tenants we do know that by far the largest percentage of tenants receive housing benefit.
“Any changes to the benefit system of the magnitude being progresses poses a risk to the housing service’s income and the ability to provide service levels agreed with tenants.”
The council will no longer be paid housing benefits directly and instead will have to liaise with tenants to ensure that payment plans for the new amounts are set up.
The plan aims to raise awareness of the changes and will offer financial guidance to help people pay.
Tenants whose house is under-occupied, for example a three-person family living in a four-bedroom house, will see their benefits reduced and the council has adapted a ‘best use of stock’ policy which will aim to limit the amount of people who are transferred to properties which are too big for them. This could also see some families being asked if they would like to move through a mutual exchange programme.
Ms Coles said more communication was needed to ensure that people are aware of the changes.
She said: “From informal discussion with tenants and their representatives at various meetings over the past few months, it would appear that while there is some knowledge of the changes it would be appropriate for the housing service to ensure it complements any information produced by the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure tenants are aware of the implications from a tenants’ perspective.”
The meeting takes place at Barrow Town Hall on Thursday at 2pm.
First published at 13:07, Monday, 11 June 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
While i understand it is not the best idea in the world to have a single person living in a 4 bedroom house, how inhumane it is to shove a person out of a house they may have lived in for many years to save a couple of quid in housing benefit. To give an example my sons 1 bed flat (council) as it is part furnished is Â£88 per week and a 3 bed unfurnished house (council) is about Â£80! I predict it will result in a lot of people getting evicted as they will not be able to meet the shortfall in rent. If they have children the council are obliged to house them...what a mess. David Cameron hang your rich well housed head in shame.
Make your comment
- Lakes team can’t wait to race with ‘best of the best’ in Barrow
- Barrow race flag design contest gets off to a flying start
- Barrow driver charged with attempted GBH by car remanded in custody
- Evening Mail readers offer to rehome abandoned Jack
- Furness General midwife 'should never work again' - mother
- Cornered Barrow thief caused fracas
- Furness General midwife admits blunders which led to deaths of two babies
- Cumbria service that helps patients returning home gets extra funding
- Relief as second Cumbria climber accounted for after Nepal quake
- Cumbria mountaineer describes horrifying moment Nepal earthquake struck
- Harvey wants new Barrow AFC deal
- Harrison fit again for Barrow Raiders
- Fan-tastic celebrations for Barrow AFC: with picture gallery
- Lakes riders shine in South Cumbria time trials: with picture gallery
- Runners make dash for Dalton 10k
- South Cumbrian darter aims for world's top 64
- Barrow AFC crowned Conference North champions: with picture gallery (25 comments)
- Special day for Barrow AFC skipper
- Proud Edmo hails Barrow AFC title success: with picture gallery
- Crarey delight as Barrow Raiders run riot (3 comments)
- High toll in struggle for beaches and barren hills
- Verses tell of lost lives
- Town ship took centre stage for major amphibious landing
- Research backs up spine theory
- Sea cadets prepare for their Big Clean
- Big Clean at Bardsea Beach
- Nation’s tribute for five flying heroes
- Mystery lady to sell at auction for £10k
- Winning village team could get 1,500 fans
- Selling the secrets of ship technology