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Testimonies

Local Housing Allowance cuts will push me out of my home

Location: UK » South West » PL
Local Housing Allowance cuts will push me out of my home

A couple of weeks ago, I received a letter from the council warning me to prepare for unspecified reductions in Local Housing Allowance payments.

Since the wording of the letter was rather opaque, I rang the Housing Benefit Department to seek clarification ; not good news: according to the advisor, I could expect to see a provisional reduction of some £8 per week in my entitlement.

The final figures would be released in March and she advised me to check the council website for confirmation.

A neighbour, whose circumstances are similar to my own-(we are both retired)- is still unsure how the changes will affect her, since she receives pension credit, whereas I do not.

These changes will only apply to those claimants who live in privately-let homes ; it is very likely that many more private landlords will now refuse to consider benefit tenants, thus adding to the shortage of affordable housing.

We shall see the creation of a 2-tier housing benefit system : combined with forthcoming council staff cuts-(2000 planned by Cornwall Council)- this will surely lead to financial and social chaos.

I stand to lose at least £30 per month, although this won’t be enforced until September 2012. When the planned cuts to council tax benefit are enforced, I shall not be able to afford to live here any longer.

The council has admitted that only 3 in every 10 privately let dwellings will be affordable for benefit tenants and that there is a very long, and growing, waiting list for council/housing association properties : chaos, homelessness and extreme hardship will ensue.

An angry email to my local MP prompted a decidedly weak and unconvincing reply : the cuts were ‘fair’ since the government had to tackle the deficit and, moreover, discretionary payments would be made to those suffering the most hardship and distress.

My subsequent emails, disputing his advice, have not been answered.

What a state of affairs we now face ; my account might seem to show self pity, which is not my intention : it is written as a reflection of my frustration and despair and to support your campaign.

I should add that, like many others who will suffer similar hardship, I pay income tax-which rather puts the lie to the ConDems’ derogatory remarks about ‘scroungers’.

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