Welfare reform has failed to help social housing tenants into work

  • An academic study commissioned by social landlords has found that the coalition's welfare reforms have failed to help social housing tenants find employment. /images/briefing/paytherent.jpg

    It has been revealed through research by the London School of Economics that just one in six tenants had either found work or increased their hours in the last year, reports Inside Housing.

    The report called Is Welfare Reform Working?, looked into 200 social housing tenants in the south west of England and found that the majority of the social tenants found their links with their job centre "unhelpful".

    Tenants who found work most commonly worked for family members or became self-employed and most of the new jobs were part-time and flexible hours.

    Whilst a study by the DWP found that 19% of households hit by the benefit cap in May 2013 were in work after a year compared to 11% for a similar uncapped group, the interviews by LSE found that benefit sanctions had shifted jobseekers' focus away from work and redirected their attention to finding alternative ways to cover basic living costs.

    LSE social policy professor Anne Power, who led the research, which was carried out between 2013 and 2014, said: "Four hundred interviews with two hundred tenants over two years paints a powerful and painful picture of low income tenants struggling to cope with falling incomes. Social landlords are offering more support but can't close the gap."

    A DWP spokesperson said the report was "not nationally representative or suitably robust. Our welfare reforms are restoring fairness to the benefit system and make sure that work pays."

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