Liberal Democrats today passed the policy Making Housing Benefit Work for Tenants in Social Housing, which calls for an evaluation of the impact of policy as well as a redrafting of housing needs guidelines and a review of the amount allocated to local authorities for the Discretionary Housing Payment fund.
The motion expresses concern that the Government’s extension of Labour’s policy of reducing housing benefit entitlements for private rented sector tenants considered to have spare bedrooms to the social housing sector is discriminating against the most vulnerable in society.
Key proposals include:
- An immediate evaluation of the impact of the policy, establishing the extent to which larger homes are freed up, money saved, the cost of implementation, its impact on vulnerable tenants, and the impact on the private rented sector.
- A redrafting of clear housing needs guidelines in association with those representing vulnerable groups including the disabled, elderly and children which are responsive to local circumstances.
- A review of the amount allocated to local authorities for the Discretionary Housing Payment Fund and the guidelines on the use for these funds and appeal processes.
Commenting, Lord Mike German said:
“The changes to housing benefit are about trying to tackle overcrowding and long housing waiting lists, while at the same time getting a fairer system for those who live in private rented and social housing.
“We recognise that this is an issue which causes debate within the party which is why we have successfully argued for more funding to protect the most vulnerable.
“We have listened to the views expressed in today’s debate and will continue to vigorously evaluate the impact of this policy. As we have said all along, we will monitor its effect on our communities and take action accordingly.”