Council bidding to boost DHP funds as government cuts kick in
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Central Government, Housing
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Birmingham City Council is bidding for an extra £2 million to help people struggling to pay their rent in the wake of the government's welfare reforms.
The council says that is has seen a huge increase in the number of people applying for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) since 1 April.
The local authority has now applied to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, for permission to bolster the £3.77m DHP fund with a further £2 million from the Housing Revenue Account (HRA).
In the first two months of this financial year, the council committed £655,495 in DHPs - and if the level of demand continues throughout the year, the current DHP pot will not be enough to cover applications.
The introduction of the benefit cap in September will inevitably mean increased demand for DHP payments, the council claims.
John Cotton, cabinet member for social cohesion and equalities, said: "Just two months in, it's very clear that the £3.77m we've been allocated for DHPs is simply not enough to cover the high demand from vulnerable people in Birmingham.
"Like other local authorities we're being left to pick up the pieces and we have to be creative as we protect people from the worst effects of these welfare reforms."