By Claire West
The housing benefit bill is expected to be over £21bn by 2014, with 4.7 million households receiving some support. The Government wants to cut this bill by more than £3bn. These reforms have immense implications for tenants on low incomes and the way housing associations manage their business.
The National Housing Federation believes that overall the cuts to housing benefit will leave around 936,000 people at risk of being driven into debt, falling into arrears or losing their home, with a high proportion at risk of ending up homeless.
Federation analysis of the Government's own figures shows that among those who will lose an average of £624 a year under the cuts are:
. 431,000 women
. 308,000 low paid workers
. 299,800 single parents
. 205,500 unemployed people
. 178,000 people with disabilities
. 121,800 black and Asian people and
. 75,000 older people.
The figures also show that the worst hit regions will be:
. London - with 159,370 people losing out
. North West - with 130,900 people losing out and
. South East - with 123,000 people losing out.
In two special seminars, the National Housing Federation will bring together the expertise of the people working on reforms at DWP, local authorities who administer the system, senior housing management professionals and welfare rights experts to assess the impact.
For more information about the seminars, please visit www.housing.org.uk