Sign up to our Editors Choice newsletter now! Click here

Tower Hamlets spends £3 million to protect vulnerable residents from bedroom tax and benefit cap

Accessibility Menu

Menu Search

24dash - The UK's most up-to-date social housing and public sector news website

Tower Hamlets spends £3 million to protect vulnerable residents from bedroom tax and benefit cap

24DASH.COM Logo

Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government

Tower Hamlets spends 3 million to protect vulnerable residents from bedroom tax and benefit cap Tower Hamlets spends 3 million to protect vulnerable residents from bedroom tax and benefit cap

A London council facing an investigation by Eric Pickles into allegations of fraud and poor financial management today announced it had spent £3 million protecting the borough's most vulnerable from the bedroom tax and other welfare reforms.

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures show that 2,510 residents were impacted by the bedroom tax in Tower Hamlets, losing an average of £1,096 a year.

The council softened the blow by making sure that 1,157 of the most affected households avoided eviction by being given help with their rent arrears.

Meanwhile, residents losing an average of £84 per week from the introduction of the benefit cap were also supported with over £800,000 of help.

And a sum of £1 million was made available to help homeless families in temporary accommodation who were hit by the cap. More than 700 payments from this fund have, so far, helped residents meet the deficit between the costly rent in Tower Hamlets, and the government’s cap on total benefits received.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “The government’s welfare reforms do not take into consideration the over-heated rental market in London, which eats up many household’s benefit entitlement.

“We will continue to do all we can to support our residents: building new homes, tackling overcrowding and providing financial support to those hit by welfare reform.”

Government statistics released on March 4 this year show that 4,300 households, previously subject to the benefit cap across the UK, have found jobs since the cap was introduced.

They say that thousands more households have reduced their housing benefit claim or stopped claiming it altogether after the cap was introduced, while 1,570 households reduced the amount they receive in other benefits.

Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud, said: “The benefit cap is rewarding families who want to work hard and get on, and already we are seeing thousands of people finding jobs and moving off benefits.

“We are taking control of the benefits system as part of the government’s long-term economic plan and making work pay to secure a better future for Britain.”

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has appointed inspectors from PricewaterhouseCoopers to look into the allegations surrounding the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. A file has also been passed to the Metropolitan Police.

Pickles decided to act following "serious concerns raised after the receipt of certain documents".

The inspection will look into evidence of the authority’s payment of grants, the transfer of property, spending decisions in relation to publicity, and other contractual processes from 25 October 2010 to the present day.

Comments

Login and comment using one of your accounts...