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
- Barrow hosting major cycling event today
- Police appeal after taxi driver assaulted in Ulverston
- How do you turn Barrow town centre into a cycling race track? (8 comments)
- Tour Series sponsor BAE Systems holding recruitment fair today
- Everything you need to know about the Tour Series Barrow stage (3 comments)
- Barrow businessman to bring back classic pop Sass (4 comments)
- New deals on offer for Cumbria tourist attractions and restaurants
- Gardening fans make a beeline for South Cumbria festival’s delights
- Barrow race is on to share in cycling glory
- South Cumbria businesses can see benefit to backing big day
- Wiggins star triumphs in Barrow Tour Series
- Pugh injury blow for Askam
- Hawcoat complete clean sweep: with picture gallery
- Tributes to Lindal rocket Ronnie
- Maj makes his mark at Ulverston
- Six of the best to look out for
- Handley in form ahead of Barrow Tour Series showdown
- Lupton the perfect stand-in for Barrow Raiders (1 comment)
- Fun in the sun at Barrow football festival: with picture gallery
- Five-star show from Barrow athletes
- Eyes down for Car Boot Bingo
- Tough time for trading
- More names found for the 1946 workers
- Store visit reward was a bag of dolly mixture
- FOOD REVIEW: The Wilson Arms, Torver
- TRAVEL REVIEW: France
- South Cumbria children’s creativity worth crowing over
- Vital to pick up condition early
- Sharing the pain of chronic problem
- First Aid