Councils fear welfare reforms are fuelling a housing crisis
A new report has revealed that London’s local authorities fear that the government’s welfare reforms are fuelling a housing crisis.
Through interviews with councils, advice services and parents, alongside reviews of existing evidence, the Child Poverty Action Group’s ‘Families on the Brink: Welfare Reform in London’ report highlights that these key groups all share the same fear: a housing crisis that uproots families from their homes and communities, leaving a huge disruption to children’s education, reports 24dash.
Almost half of all the households in the country hit by the benefit cap are in London. High housing costs mean that households in London on average have lost 22% more than the rest of the county, losing almost £7 more per week than households outside of the capital.
Councils are already reporting a shortage of properties that are affordable to rent to people on housing benefit. Child Poverty Action Group is concerned about the impact the cuts will have on young people in London.
Alison Garnham, CPAG chief executive, said: “Councils and families are telling us that a crisis is just around the corner in London. It will cause tremendous disruption to children’s lives for families to have to leave their city, their extended families, schools and support networks. It also risks destroying the mix and diversity London prides itself on. Londoners need a housing benefit system where allowances match local rents and we need better quality services for helping parents find work, stay in work and progress onto higher pay. This must include improving the supply of high quality childcare and ensuring families can afford to pay for it.”
Responding to CPAG’s report, Barnardo’s director for London, Lynn Gradwell, said: “The shocking finding that benefits cuts have left Londoners struggling to keep a roof over their child’s head, should be a warning to Government to review welfare reform. Desperate families, struggling to juggle soaring living costs with the Government’s recent decision not to increase their benefits with inflation, tell us they are being driven to food banks to provide for their children. Political parties need to wake up to the looming poverty crisis in London, and take action to tackle in and out-of-work poverty. They can start by restoring the link between benefits and inflation.”
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