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World Habitat Evidence to the Social Security Advisory Committee

The SSAC carried out a consultation on the likely impact of the proposed Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2010. This is BSHF’s submission to the SSAC.

Whilst portrayals of the housing benefit system being “out of control” are inaccurate, there is a clear need for long term reform of housing benefit and the wider system of support with housing costs. Any changes made at this stage should contribute to the longer term objective for support with housing costs. Several of the mechanisms adopted in the budget that are due to be implemented in 2011 give cause for concern. There is a risk they will:

  • Have unintended consequences that minimise the public expenditure savings;
  • Fail to meet one of the stated aims of the budget: supporting the most vulnerable;
  • Undermine the core purposes of housing benefit, i.e. provision of access to affordable housing and protection of residual income (the money left to live on after rent);
  • Remove the link between the level of support with housing costs and actual housing costs.

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