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Grand Union welcomes hard-hitting report on welfare reform

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Grand Union welcomes hard-hitting report on welfare reform

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Published by Grand Union for Grand Union Housing Group in Central Government and also in Housing

Grand Union Housing Group (GUHG) has welcomed a far-reaching report which calls on the Government to review major areas of its controversial welfare reform policy.

In its hard-hitting report the all-party Department of Work and Pensions Select Committee has made a string of recommendations around the Social Sector Size Criteria (SSSC), known as the bedroom tax, Discretionary Housing Payments and those living with disability.

Aileen Evans, Managing Director of GUHG subsidiary Aragon Housing Association, who personally gave evidence to the Select Committee, said: “We are delighted the committee has taken on board everything members heard about the devastating effect the bedroom tax has had on some of our tenants.

“From the evidence members received, the committee has clearly taken on board that much of the welfare reform policy, including the bedroom tax, has resulted in greater hardship for many vulnerable tenants. They have also questioned whether it has actually achieved the Government’s objective in making best use of our housing stock.

“We now look forward to hearing what the Government has to say in response to these recommendations.”

Members of the Select Committee also visited Aragon’s staff and tenants in their homes to witness first hand the impact of the Government’s reform.

The report labels the bedroom tax ‘a blunt instrument’ and recommends that the Government should take a closer look at the following:

  1. That bedroom tax should not be applied where there is no suitable reasonable alternative accommodation.
  2. That disabled people in adapted homes should be exempt from the bedroom tax
  3. That vulnerable people should be allowed to have their housing costs paid directly to their landlords if they prefer when Universal credit is introduced.
  4. That under-occupation should be determined by the number of bed spaces, not the number of bedrooms.
  5. That households with someone in receipt of higher level mobility or care component of Disability Living Allowance or the equivalent in Personal Independence Payment be exempt.

The report also recommends that the Government should undertake a thorough review of the cost to the tax-payer of the bedroom tax, taking into account the cost impact on local authorities and housing associations.

It also calls on the Government to consider extra funding to social housing providers to help with the additional cost of dealing with the bedroom tax to make sure their ability to build much-needed new homes is not adversely affected.

 

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