Families on the Brink: welfare reform in London
This report reveals the capital has been hit hard by changes to the benefits system, particularly cuts to housing benefit. London households have lost almost £7 per week more than the average UK household.
The research by Child Poverty action Group which was funded by Trust for London, found that families are struggling and are unsure how they will afford to stay living in their area. It is based on interviews with councils, advice services and parents. All groups shared the same fear: a housing crisis forcing families to leave their local area and community, meaning children having to change schools.
The report shows that councils and families fear that this situation is set to get worse. They are already seeing a shortage of properties that are affordable to rent on housing benefit. Rents in London are set to rise considerably faster than housing benefit, meaning the pool of affordable properties is getting smaller and smaller.
Key points in the report are:
• Sixteen London boroughs already have more households claiming housing benefit than there are affordable properties. Councils are struggling to find local housing for local families and believe it is going to get harder.
• High childcare costs in London makes it harder for work to pay. A parent with four children working part time and paying average childcare costs in London will be £65 worse off per week than the same families outside of London.
• Financial work incentives alone have not been enough to enable parents to start work. Only 13% of households hit by the benefit cap have entered work.
• Families are relying on short term, discretionary payments from councils to stay in their homes.
• Councils are struggling to house homeless families in-borough or even in London. There has been 1000% increase in homeless families moved outside London between 2011/12 and 2013/14.
• Council run benefits schemes for Council Tax reduction, Discretionary Housing Payments and the localised Social Fund create a possible postcode lottery
• Welfare reform is hitting working and workless families, and families who have previously not been expected to work. This includes lone parents with very young children.
From our Twitter
Our grantee @CreativeSoc is offering an unique opp for those looking to make a career in the #creative sector #ArtsJobs Join them at this drop-in session funded by us on Tues 25 Feb, #Islington Town Hall to chat with others working in the field & gain advice, details below https://twitter.com/heebs_got_it/status/1220658924027891712 …24 Jan 2020
New @TBIJ research shows planned rise in housing benefit rates will make only a fraction more homes affordable as 1000s of households face shortfalls. And in Central London the proposed increase stands to make no difference at all. Great investigation from @cboutaud & @MaeveMCC https://twitter.com/TBIJ/status/1220651003646824448 …24 Jan 2020
#JobAlert ! Our grantee @Centre70 is looking for a Housing Caseworker to join their team to provide vital #housing advice in #Lambeth & elsewhere, promote awareness of people’s legal rights, & support volunteers Deadline to apply is 10 Feb, details below #JobOpportunity https://twitter.com/Centre70/status/1220384402368344065 …24 Jan 2020
“To all my fellow Londoners: let’s start seeing blind and partially-sighted people in a new light.” Alan, who is blind & a @Vision_Fdn campaigner, shares his experience of living in the capital, & calls for a shift in attitudes from the public & employers http://bit.ly/38CG51F23 Jan 2020