Housing cuts for long-term unemployed

NEW research published by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) into the Government’s proposed cuts to housing benefits, reveals that at least 194,000 unemployed adults will become worse off.

The government has announced 10 per cent housing benefit cuts for adults who have been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) for more than 12 months. But the TUC say the cuts will leave at least 194,000 unemployed adults nearly £500 worse off a year.

The research – which has informed the TUC’s submission to the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s consultation on housing benefit reforms – finds that the cut will have a big impact on some of the UK’s most vulnerable people.

Evidence suggests that disabled workers, lone parents and people who have recent experience of homelessness are among the groups of people most likely to find themselves long-term unemployed, and therefore affected by this policy.
The TUC analysis reveals that at least 194,000 adults a year will see their housing benefit cut by 10 per cent if this cut is introduced. Those who will be hit include 102,000 adults who have been claiming JSA for 12 months or more, 68,000 lone parents (who will be moved on to JSA from other benefits) and at least 24,000 disabled people (who will be moved on to JSA from incapacity benefit). On average they will lose £489.06 a year.

Recycling Lives Acting Chief Executive Kevin Williams said: “I understand the government needs to cut spending rapidly but this proposal will hit those genuinely struggling to find work and could worsen their situation by increasing the risks of getting into debt and becoming homeless.

“Recycling Lives is a programme specifically designed to help break the welfare cycle many individuals find themselves trapped within and help those facing an uncertain future back into full time employment. The government should get behind organisations like Recycling Lives that are actively helping individuals to move away from a reliance on benefits, while gaining training and work experience to enable them to flourish in the working world.”  

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “This cut in housing benefit will make a real difference to some of the poorest and most vulnerable adults and families, who will find themselves out of pocket to the tune of nearly £500 a year.

“Long-term unemployment is not a lifestyle choice, it is a debilitating and stressful experience which puts unemployed people and their families at higher risk of poverty, poor health and relationship breakdown.

“The long-term unemployed need help and support to get them back into the labour market. They should not to be blamed for their predicament by having vital benefits cut. This is another example of the Government making struggling families bear the cost of the recession, while the rich have been let off.”