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London handed lion's share of £15m housing benefit support cash

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London handed lion's share of £15m housing benefit support cash


Published by 24publishing for in Housing and also in Central Government, Local Government

London handed lion's share of £15m housing benefit support cash London handed lion's share of £15m housing benefit support cash

London has received the lion's share of a funding package announced by the Government to help councils and benefit claimants hit by welfare cuts.

Local authorities in the capital have been handed £5.9m - part of a £15m fund allocated by the Government this year - which aims to help councils and benefit claimants in the private rented sector. [See allocations list]

The funds form part of a wider £49m funding package to help with the housing benefit cuts until 2015.

The cash is on top of the £130m Discretionary Housing Payments and the £10m for homelessness prevention in London.

Changes to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) - which came in for new tenants last year and for existing tenants from January - has capped housing benefit at £400 for a four-bed home, £340 for a three-bed home, £290 for a two-bed home and £250 for a one bed home.

The announcement of the £400-a-week cap limit on housing benefit sparked outcry last year with some MPs warning of an exodus of poorer families from expensive areas of London and other cities.

The Government has also cut LHA support from the level of the average rent in the area to that of the 30% cheapest homes.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says the funds will help residents and councils to renegotiate their rents with landlords and find more affordable properties.

Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said: “The cost of paying housing benefit in the private rented sector has nearly doubled in a decade, so it's only right that we introduce new reforms to get these spiralling costs under control. The additional £5.9m funding for London will help councils to prepare and assist residents make the transition.

“We are already seeing councils pulling together to create innovative projects to target support for tenants and work with landlords to renegotiate rents or find affordable properties.

“We look forward to councils continuing to work together and with local groups to make the very best use of these new resources.”

Last year, 10 projects across the UK were created with the first £4m of funding. The projects ranged from schemes offering advice to claimants affected by the changes to a software package available to 168 local authorities to highlight people affected.

A further £15m per year will be allocated to councils for 2013/14 and 2014/15.



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