Increased Demand for Emergency Welfare
- 14 May
Councils have received increased requested for emergency welfare following the introduction of the bedroom tax.
There has been a sharp increase reported from councils across Britain for an emergency hardship fund to help cover the personal shortfall in money.
Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is intended to be paid out as an emergency when someone claiming housing benefit or council tax benefit is having difficulty paying the rest of the rent themselves.
Since the bedroom tax was introduced on 1st April last month, numerous councils in Britain a reporting a huge increase in the demand for the fund.
The government allocated initially £60 million but has had to increase this to £155 million to DHP, and the rise in demand for the fund is the first quantifiable sign that the bedroom tax is making it harder for tenants to meet living costs.
Leeds Council has received 1,256 applications compared with 226 last April.
Sefton Council received 321 applications since 1 April, which is 9x their normal amount.
Southampton Council had 295 applications compared with 75 in April 2012.
Birmingham Council received 2,000 applications in the first two weeks of April, which is 50% more than the figure for the whole of the first quarter of the 2012/13 financial year.
Glasgow Council has received 5,501 applications for April, compared to 1,437 for the same period last year.
Liverpool Council received 1,265 applications in April when it receives an average of 138 a month.
Sheffield Council received around 1,400, compared to an average of just 100 per month throughout the 2012/13 financial year.
Hull, Leicester and Southwark councils all received at least five times as many applications as they would normally receive in a month. Waltham Forest Council’s received 226 applications when their average monthly amount is 72.A total of 12 other local authorities also reported increases.
Spelthorne, Oxford, Harlow, Amber Valley, Suffolk Coastal, Maldon, Wycombe, Welwyn and Hatfield, Telford and Wrekin, Craven, Eastbourne and Derbyshire Dales councils have reported combined DHP applications of 1,070 in April this year, compared to 252 in the same period last year.
This is having a knock on effect on the councils, many expecting a shortfall themselves to cover the necessary funds that are given out to struggling claimants.
DHPs are intended as short term solution, and the government have provided funding as a temporary solution, so what will happen if these short term problems continue to happen every month now that the cut has been introduced?
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/386434
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